Cornish Game Hen with a Pumpkin Puree

I love making Cornish game hens because they are unique for a dinner party or a date night entrée but inexpensive as well. One hen will serve two people and they usually come in a package of two hens that can be individually thawed if making one for a date night entrée. This recipe captures some of fall’s wonderful flavors with pumpkin and sage along with other herbs for great flavor. Ingredient amounts will serve two. Adjust amounts to accommodate the number of people serving.

Ingredients

Cornish Game Hen
1 Cornish game hen thawed
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 large sage leaves
2 springs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Puree
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 shallots of minced about 3 tablespoons
4 cups of pumpkin, rind removed and diced into large cubes, about one inch to two inch pieces about a 3 lb. pumpkin
3 cups of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of sage leaves minced
1 tablespoon of thyme removed from the stem
1/2 tablespoon of rosemary removed from the stem and minced

Technique

Make a stable base for the pumpkin by slicing part of the bottom off. Peel the pumpkin as you would a pineapple, remove stem, seeds and pulp leaving the flesh. Cut flesh into 1 -2 inch pieces and set aside. Rinse hen and remove anything inside the cavity. Season hen with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large pot and sear hen on both sides for about 5 minutes per side. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place in a baking dish uncovered with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Fill cavity with herbs and bake for 45 minutes or until done, no pink should remain in the middle. Tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting in half. While hen is baking make puree. Using the same pot that the hen was seared in, add more olive oil if needed and sauté the shallots over medium high heat for about 1 – 2 minutes. Add the herbs and sauté until fragrant. Add about 1 cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the pan. Add the remaining chicken broth and the pumpkin and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium high and cook until pumpkin is fork tender about 20 – 30 minutes. In batches blend pumpkin mixture until smooth. Return to pot if the hens are not ready and keep warm over low heat stirring often. Make sure it does not burn. Plate by cutting hen in half, add sauce to bottom of plate and top with half of the hen.

Suggested Beverage

Try J. Lohr Chardonnay (California), McManis Family Vineyards Chardonnay (River Junction, California), Parducci Family Farmed Pinot Noir (California), Pedroncelli Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, California),  Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (Milton, DE) or Michelob Brewing Co. Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale (St. Louis, MO).

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