Todd made us roasted Cornish game hens the other night and I was reminded how, back when I was in my early 20s, I thought Cornish game hens were just the height of chi chi food. I mean, what’s better than having your own little mini-chicken, right?
Granted, my culinary landscape has greatly expanded since then, but game hens are still fun food in my book, and I was reminded of the not-exactly beer can chicken Todd and I made 3 years ago around this time and thought it’d be a perfect time to dig that old post out of storage and give it a refresh.
And, hey, if you take out the garlic powder (just sub for a bit of garlic-infused oil) this still totally works on a low-FODMAP diet!
So without further ado, here’s Pineapple-Can Game Hens, courtesy of the way-back machine from July 2010!
Pineapple Game Hen
1 stick (4 oz) butter, softened
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 Tbsp lime zest (approx. 1 lime)
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp rubber sage
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Cornish game hens, approx. 1 pound each
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
2 6-oz cans pineapple juice
While the hens are defrosting, combine the butter, lime zest, cilantro, salt, sage and pepper in a small bowl, transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a cylinder. Chill until firm (about an hour or so).
Prepare your pineapple cans by removing the paper labels and scrubbing off any glue left behind. It took a combination of hot water and steel wool to get the job done, but not much time. Open each can and pour out about half, then punch 2 more holes in the top.
Rinse and pat dry the hens once they’re removed from their wrappings. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder inside and out of each bird. Slice coins of the chilled butter and slip them under the skin all around the bird–don’t forget the back, too. Tuck the wings back, drizzle the birds with olive oil before settling them over the pineapple cans.
Carefully transport each vertical bird to the grill and cook over indirect heat for 45 minutes (in my case this meant cranking up the flame on either side, leaving the middle off and setting then hens there; if you’ve got a charcoal grill, scoot the briquettes over to one side or the other).
We paired them with grilled corn and blue-cheese potato salad (the latter we picked up from Fresh Market). They look small, but half a hen is totally enough for one person with the usual sides.