Masala Cornish Hen (Thanksgiving Feast)

A whole bird as a WOW factor, whether it’s a Hen, Chicken or a Turkey. Cornish Game Hens are easy to handle, very tender and juicy and the flavor of the meat is just incredible. A great alternative to the turkey at Thanksgiving and it definitely requires less work – this is a must try. The other reason why we love this dish is that the leftovers make a Fun, Fantastic, Fabulous, Flavorful Sandwich filling! It just does not get better than this 🙂
Happy Holiday to everyone!

Prep Time: 20 min
Marinating Time: 2 hours minimum
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 min
Serves: 2-3

Cornish Game Hen – 1 (or 2)
Potatoes – 2 medium, cubed
Carrots – 1, cut
Lemon or Lime Wedges – for garnish

“Dry Spice Mix”
Star Anise – 1
Cinnamon Stick – 1″ pc.
Whole Cloves – 4
Green Cardamom – 3
Black Cardamom – 1
Whole Black Pepper – 1/2 tbsp (or to taste)
Dry Red Chili – 2 (or to taste)
Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Black Cumin – 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Seeds) – 1/4 tsp

-In a heavy-bottomed skillet, dry roast- Star Anise, Whole Cloves, Cinnamon Stick, Green Cardamom, Black Cardamom & Whole Pepper. Give them a couple of minutes.
-Add in the balance of the ingredients and allow them to roast and get a color. You should be able to get the aroma.
-Turn off the stove and transfer to a plate and allow them to cool down.
-Once cool, grind in a spice grinder and add Salt (approx 1 tsp) to taste.
-Mix well and keep aside.

“Wet Masala”
Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
Garlic Cloves – 6
Ginger – 1 tbsp (approx)
Green Chillies – 6 (or to taste)
Onion – 1/4 of a large onion
Cilantro – 12 sprigs (leaves and stems)

-Blend the above “Wet Masala” into a smooth paste without using any water.
-Add Salt (approx 1 tsp) to taste and set aside till ready to use.

1. Defrost the Cornish Hen in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Take it out of the packaging, wash and clean well.
3. Remove any innards and unwanted parts.
4. Use a paper-towel and pat dry the Hen very well, including the cavity.
5. Take a fork or a knife and poke hole in the Hen to allow the marinade to penetrate thru and flavor the Hen.
6. Apply the “Dry Spice Mix” in the cavity and between the skin and the flesh of the Hen.
7. Mix the balance of the “Dry Spice Mix” to the “Wet Masala”.
8. Rub the Marinade well all over the Hen.
9. Wrap the Hen in a Saran Wrap tightly and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.
10. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
11. Prep and cube the Potatoes and the Carrots.
12. Lightly grease an oven proof metal or a glass dish to bake the Hen.
13. Place the Vegetables at the bottom and gently place the Hen on top.
14. Mix a little more marinade if any of the spots look dry.
15. Cover with a foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
16. Once done take it out and make sure the Hen is okay and not drying up. Baste with the sauce if needed.
17. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for another 45 minutes (checking every 15 minutes).
18. Once done, take the Hen out and move it to another oven-proof platter/dish.
19. It goes back into the oven on ‘high broil’ for 3-5 minutes till it gets a little color. Please keep an eye on it.
20. In a small skillet, pour the liquid and thicken it by cooking it down (or by adding the balance Masala mix or a little bit of Corn Starch).
21. Add the vegetables and allow the Masala to coat them and transfer to a serving platter (around the Hen).
22. Garnish with a few Lemon or Lime wedges and serve hot.

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