A friend of ours recently recommended a Mexican market, Pancho Villa, and I’ve been mildly obsessed ever since. I love walking into a supermarket and seeing things I haven’t the faintest idea how to cook with; and it’s all the more exciting that it is in my own city! A giant surprise was finding Cornish Game Hens for suuuuper cheap (less than $4 per bird!). I had never cooked one before, and neither had my husband, so we jumped at the chance. We found a tasty recipe using spices we rarely cook with and have since tweaked the recipe until we feel we have perfected it.
My favorite part of this recipe is the use of cumin and coriander. I don’t tend to cook with these spices, so it was a treat to make something with flavors that differed greatly from my usual repertoire. The second best thing about this recipe? It’s EASY…but looks very impressive. The sauce–a simple yogurt, herb, and garlic combo–is reminiscent of tzatziki sauce and a great accompaniment to the spices o the cumin/coriander rub.
You could easily substitute a whole chicken for Game Hens if you wish, just make sure to adjust your cooking time.
Cumin and Coriander Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Mint Yogurt
You will need:
2 Cornish Game Hens
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sour cream
1 small cucumber, peeled and deseeded
2 cloves of garlic
5 sprigs of cilantro
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
1. If your cumin and coriander are whole, grind them in a spice grinder (or, if you’re really serious about your spices, in a mortar and pestle).
If you are using the already-ground spices, skip this step.
2. Cut the hens in half length-wise.
3. Add salt and pepper to the cumin and coriander mix. Rub the hens with them.
4. Place the hens skin-side down on a roasting rack and cook for 35 minutes.
While the birds are cooking….
5. Combine yogurt and sour cream. If you are using a non-fat yogurt or yogurt that does not seem very thick, it might be a good idea to spoon the mixture onto a paper towel and let the towel soak up the moisture, which will thicken the sauce.
6. Chop the garlic and coriander and cucumber. If you have a cheese grater, try grating the cucumber. It’s much easier than chopping!
7. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This dish begs for a French white. The lemon and citrus qualities of the wine will complement the spices, and the well-balanced acidity will work well alongside the creamy yogurt and richness of the hen (they are a bit more fatty than chickens, I discovered). I recommend the Oliver LeFlaive “Les Setilles” Borgogne–a French Chardonnay–but any other French white from this region would pair just as well.If you like this recipe, check out the rest of our recipes HERE! Need to pair something delicious with something delicious to drink? Check out our wine reviews. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to receive an occasional wine review or recipe update in your newsfeed! P.S. We are on Twitter, too.