This is it. Today. The Big One. The University of Michigan and notredame (oops–typo!) are battling it out today at 3:30. Richard doesn’t need to tell me that this will probably be the game to dictate how the season may go. But he is telling me…again…and again…and again! I understand he’s excited but the season just started. Can’t we get a breather before Goliath comes to the gate? Who schedules these games anyway? Oh well, a big game calls for a big dish.
At last Saturday’s game I was inspired by the sheer amount of brick required to renovate the Michigan Stadium; so inspired I decided to flatten and grill my game hens under bricks. Some of that football fan, pre-game testosterone must be wearing off on me; I doubled the spicy red curry paste in my sauce to amp up the heat. I have a Tyler Florence recipe for chicken wings that is so delicious, I’m inspired to use a version of it with these game hens.
There is nothing quite like the crisp, crackling, golden brown skin and moist, juicy breast and thigh meat that grilling under a hot brick offers. Though the technique has enjoyed popularity of late in American kitchens, Italian families, especially in Tuscany, have been cooking what they call pollo al mattone for centuries.
The most important technique for grilling any type of poultry under bricks is spatchcocking the bird. Spatchcocking is Irish terminology for removing the game hen’s backbone (or butterflying) so the bird will cook evenly. For additional information on this technique, click the spatchcock link for a tutorial using whole chicken; I used the same technique for the Cornish game hens. The tutorial uses kitchen shears but I found a sharp knife works just as well.
You can spatchcock the birds and make the sauce up to 24 hours in advance. My brother Allen introduced me to this incredible sauce adapted from one of his favorite, Tyler Florence recipes. I purchased my frozen Cornish game hens from Whole Foods but I’ve purchased them from the frozen food section at Hiller’s and Busch’s in the past. In my experience they cost anywhere from $4.00-$7.00 a bird.
This recipe is not as tough as it appears to be, just like our opponent in today’s game.
I hesitate writing a recipe that would require a trip to the Arctic Circle to purchase (or hunt down) the main ingredient, but here you have it. Besides, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bob Sparrow (Sparrow Meats in Kerrytown) could get you a caribou tenderloin if you wanted one. Our friend, Jack, went hunting with friends on … Full recipe post »
Serving rabbit to some guests might make them squeamish, the unindoctrinated informing you they recently began a vegetarian diet. (By recently, they mean after they gobbled down the beef tenderloin canape appetizers you served a few minutes prior.) I remember the first time I was served rabbit. I was a foreign exchange student my sophomore year in … Full recipe post »
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