Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cornish Game Hen á Chorizo Bulgar Wheat Farci with Balsamic Tomato Sauce, Crème Fraîche and Pickled Mirliton

     A Modern Game Hen Entrée!
     That actually is one whole game hen in the photographs above!  The game hen was split in half, then deboned, except for the leg bone.  The deboned game hen half was laid flat, then chorizo bulgar wheat stuffing was spread over the meat.  Butcher string was used to truss the game hen in a conical shape, with the leg bone pointed upward.  
     Meat fabrication skills are required by chefs and these skills are not difficult for home cooks to learn.  Even though a chef prepares a food item by the thousands in a lifetime, the first few times is when the technique is learned.  
     Fabricating meat products quickly is the result of repetition.  Home cooks should not worry about being as fast as a chef, when learning meat fabrication.  Accuracy and making a product look good is more important.  

     Those who work a bit slow should keep in mind that the longer that meat is kept in the temperature danger zone, the risk of pathogen contamination increases.  The temperature danger zone is 41ºF to 140ºF.  If it takes longer than expected to complete a meat fabrication project, then it is best to take a break and chill the meat to a temperature of minus 41ºF.  This is called controlling time/temperature abuse.  

     The safe cooking temperature of all poultry is 165ºF degrees.  Duck is an exception.  Stuffed meat must be cooked to 165ºF for 15 seconds.  The safe holding temperature for all hot food is 135ºF.  Using these temperatures as guidelines will reduce the risk of food borne illness.   
     With the holiday season coming around, it is nice to know the facts about safe food handling.  I am a certified Las Vegas, Nevada food handler and I am a National Restaurant Association Servsafe Certified Food handler.  Las Vegas has the strictest health codes in the world and the Servsafe certification is required at most restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip.  
     Anybody can take part in a Servsafe food handler dertification program in person or on the internet.  The information is valuable for safe food handling practice.  The risk of making holiday guests ill with bad food can easily be alleviated after learning how to be a safe food handler.  Education is the key to food safety!

     *This entire recipe yields 1 entrée!

     Pickled Mirliton Garnish:
     Mirliton is another name for Chayote Squash!
     Step 1:  Dice 2 tablespoons of chayote squash and set it aside.  (Dice = 1/4" cube)
     Place 3/4 cup of water in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt.
     Add 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 2 pinches of mustard seed.
     Add 1 clove.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Add 1/2 of a bay leaf.
     Step 2:  Bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer for 3 minutes.
     Step 4:  Add the diced chayote squash.
     Gently simmer till the chayote starts to becomes tender. 
     Step 5:  Pour the ingredients into a ceramic cup.
     Refrigerate till the pickled mirliton is needed.
     *Allow the pickled mirliton to come up to room temperature, before garnishing the plate. 
     Beef Chorizo Bulgar Wheat Stuffing:
     Farci means "stuffing or stuffed with" in French!  
     Chorizo does not have to be cooked dark brown.  It can be cooked to a lighter color.  This way, the paprika will not become bitter tasting.  
     A #3 size bulgar wheat is a size of bulgar that is good for making pilaf.  Rice actually was not the first grain used to make pilaf in Persia!
     Step 1:  Soak 1/2 cup of #3 size bulgar wheat in water in a refrigerator for 3 hours.
     Drain the water off of the bulgar wheat.
     Step 2:  Place the bulgar wheat in a small sauce pot.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a loose fitting lid.
     Simmer the bulgar wheat, till it becomes tender.
     Drain the water off of the bulgar wheat and set it aside.
     Step 4:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely minced onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced celery.
     Sauté till the onion turns clear in color.
     Step 5:  Add 3 1/2 ounces of Mexican style uncased finely ground raw beef chorizo sausage.
     Sauté and stir constantly, so the sausage does not clump together and so minimal browning occurs.
     Sauté till the chorizo is fully cooked and the fat renders.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Drain off all but about 1 tablespoon of the chorizo grease.
     Step 6:  Add the cooked bulgar wheat to the chorizo in the pan.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced cilantro.  
     *No other seasoning is necessary, because the chorizo is loaded with spices!
     Add 1 cup of chicken broth.
     Step 7:  Place the pan over medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the liquid is almost completely evaporated.  Stir the ingredients occasionally.
     Set the beef chorizo bulgar wheat stuffing aside and let it cool to room temperature.

     Cornish Game Hen Preparation:
     Take care not to damage the skin of the game hen!
     Sharp thin blade kitchen shears with a bone notch makes this easy to do.
     Step 1:  Clip the wings off at the ends of the drummettes.
     Clip off the tail.
     Split the game hen in half, from end to end, through the back bone and breast bone. 
     Step 2:  Use a paring knife to scrape the meat free from the back bone and rib cage.
     Cut the back bone free from the upper thigh joint.  
     Remove the bones.
     Step 3:  Cut shallow slices on both sides of the thigh bone, then cut underneath the thigh bone.
     Pull the thigh bone up and cut it free at the knee joint.
     Discard the thigh bone.
     Step 4:  Clip the lower leg joint end off. 
     Press and slide the meat down the leg bone to expose the bare bone.
     Scrape the exposed leg bone clean.
     *Now you should have 2 boneless cornish gam hen halves that still have the Frenched lower leg bone attached.  The skin should be undamaged.

     Cornish Game Hen a la Beef Chorizo Bulgar Wheat Farci:
     Step 1:  Lay the 2 boneless game hen halves flat on a counter top, with the skin facing down.
     Mound about 1/2 cup of the beef chorizo bulgar wheat stuffing on each game hen.  (Any excess stuffing can be saved for another recipe!)
     Press the stuffing firm so it holds its shape.
     Step 2:  Wrap the boneless game hen around the stuffing, so the game hen half takes on a conical shape.
     Pull the boneless meat partially over the stuffing on the wide end to help hold the stuffing in place.
     Step 3:  Use butcher's twine to truss each stuffed game hen half, so it stays in a cone like shape, when stood vertically.
     Step 4:  Lightly brush two cups on a 4" wide cup muffin pan with vegetable oil.
     Stand the cone shaped trussed game hens halves upright in two of the muffin cup on the pan.
     Step 5:  Brush the the game hen halves with melted unsalted butter.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of thyme leaves over the game hen halves.
     Step 6:  Roast in a 325ºF oven, till the center temperature is 165ºF for 15 seconds and the stuffed game hens are a golden brown color.
     Allow the stuffed game hen halves to rest for 2 minutes before cutting off the butcher's twine.
     *The sauces can be made while the game hens roast!

     Modena Balsamic Tomato Sauce:
     Modena, Italy is where Balsamic Vinegar was created.  Balsamic vinegar from Modena is the best! 
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1 chopped garlic clove.
     Sauté till the shallot turns clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
     Gently sauté and stir, till the tomato paste is lightly caramelized.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 cup of tomato puree.
     Add 1 cup of chicken broth.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Modena Balsamic Vinegar. 
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, while whisking occasionally.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin tomato sauce consistency.
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top.

     Crème Fraîche:
     Mix 3 tablespoons of cream with 3 tablespoons of sour cream.
     Place the crème fraîche in a plastic squirt bottle.

     Cornish Game Hen á Chorizo Bulgar Wheat Farci with Balsamic Tomato Sauce, Crème Fraîche and Pickled Mirliton:
     Step 1:  Spoon and spread the Modena Balsamic Tomato Sauce on a plate as a bed for the game hen halves.
     Use the plastic squirt bottle to paint parallel lines of creme fraiche across the balsamic tomato sauce.
     Drag a skewer tip across the creme fraiche lines to paint the plate.
     Step 2:  Attach green onion flowers to the Frenched leg bones on top of the game hen halves.  (optional)
     Place the Stuffed Cornish Game Hens upright on the sauced plate.
     Drain the liquid off of the pickled mirliton.
     Sprinkle the diced pickled mirliton garnish over the sauce. 

     This is a nice plate of modern looking food!  

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