CORNISH HEN WITH CORNBREAD SAUCE AND BLACKBERRY PAN JUS
This will be the best thing you've ever eat this fall/winter. What you have here is a bowl of three amazing equal parts which work so well together. I came up with the recipe while watching the legendary chef, Raymond Blanc, showcase a slight different version using wild pheasant and white bread. Seem like a no brainer to flip his recipe for something more practical and close to home. I recommend this be your day before or day after Thanksgiving meal. Feel free to play with the recipe. Enjoy!
For the pan roasted bird
- 2 cornish hens
- 2 tbsp grape seed oil
- 1 oz unsalted butter
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Cornish hen jus
- 3 oz red wine
- 1 3/4 oz blackberry jam
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 8 blackberries
- 2 sprig fresh thyme
For the bread sauce
- ¼oz unsalted butter
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 2 cloves, crushed
- 2 pinches salt
- 1/2 cup small bacon lardons
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 large pieces of cornbread, slightly crumbled into pieces
For the hen, preheat the oven to 375
On a medium heat, in a ovenproof frying pan, heat the oil and butter.
Lay the hen in the pan, cook until golden-brown in color (about 3-5 minutes) on the leg sides. Turn the pheasants onto their breast side to color for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. To check the pheasant is correctly cooked, you can use a meat thermometer – the breast temperature for a 140F.
Spoon out the fat from the pan and add the wine, chicken stock, blackberry jam and thyme into the roasting pan. On a high heat quickly cook until the volume of liquid has reduced by one third. Scrape the carmalized juices off the bottom of the pan to add flavor for the sauce. Taste and season if necessary. Strain and reserve in a warmed jug.
For the cornbread sauce, in a small saucepan on a low heat gently heat the butter and fry the onion with the herbs, crushed cloves and salt for two minutes, or until soft. Add the bacon lardons and continue to cook uncovered for one minute. Add the milk, bring to a simmer and stir in the cornbread pieces until the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, place the cooked bird over a mound of cornbread sauce with the blackberry sauce poured around.