Crisp blue skies, warm sunshine and cool breezes…could the weather be more perfect for grilling?! All I need is a pink grill with rhinestones and “auto-clean”, and I’d be one rockin’ grill diva!! Well, maybe not a grill “diva”, but so long as my hubby thinks I am, I’m ok with being “me”! 😉
We’ve been a bit down on our luck lately, but even when, there’s no reason to not create something special out of a few ingredients on hand! Just because you’re having trouble and on the low dip of life’s roller coaster ride, doesn’t mean you can’t create something that rivals any restaurant in town and add some needed smiles to the table! As I always say, “There’s elegance in simplicity!” And this could not be more true to describe this dish. I’ve been told before, by several chefs that I’ve had the rare opportunity to work alongside, “That a true cook can make something spectacular out of nothing.” And this humbly marinated and glazed dish is sure proof of that! And to boot, was lovingly made for my dear sweet hubby as a “Good Luck!!” send-off dinner to wish him well on his trip to find a better job! The very week before he got laid-off, we had (thank goodness!!), just stocked the freezer with a few meats, so luckily, I’ve had “that department” covered to work with. The challenge, and I LOVE a good challenge!, has mostly been with the sides, actually! But each meal has been a bit of a challenge in it’s own way. All those “extra ingredients” that we add to the cart and are taken for granted have taken a backseat for now.
But I always choose to look towards the bright side, be thankful for what I have, and be very appreciative that I have a knack for cooking and baking, and grilling, come to find out!! I previously, for most of my life, was never was eager or thrilled to approach the grill before when it involved smelly and dangerous starter fluids, ridiculously heavy bags of dirty charcoal bigger than me that took forever to get to the point of “ok you can grill now”, a sudden breeze (or even the simple act of lifting the kettle lid) that would coat whatever I was cooking with gray ash that was gritty and tasted bad, and most importantly, didn’t quite like walking around with my eyebrows singed off. Not to mention the whole charcoal clean-up each time after and how expensive charcoal and fluid became. Quite a nuisance, and not exactly “fun” when you just want to go out and cook something. Like dinner. Like before midnight.
Since being re-married to a wonderful man who bought us a very nice gas grill that couldn’t be easier to operate, “grilling” opened up a whole new world of cooking for me and has become my second love!!! Next to him, of course!! 😉 It originally was for him/both of us….but I’ve kinda taken it over now and he’s a trooper about it!! He doesn’t really care for grilling so much, YAY!!, so we’re both very happy campers!! Whatever works, right?!! 😀 And this recipe works!!! I don’t know how many yummy sounds the hubs made enjoying this, I think I lost count somewhere after 20 or so, lol, and there’s no better reassurance than that, that you’ve created something wonderful! Frankly, I’ve never had better at any restaurant. Plus, everything always tastes better when you’ve made it yourself. 😉
This is absolutely delightful with a fresh lemon flavor, not too much rosemary, and a sweet honey-apricot glaze that just takes it over the top and makes it just that special! It’s easy and do-able for even the novice griller, and the flavor is certainly worthy of a special occasion or best company. Don’t be afraid of the long-looking directions. I just wanted to take the time to explain quite a lot to make things go smoothly and make sure that you just plain have fun making this! I’m only 5’2″ on my tippie toes, barely 120 lbs. soaking wet, with medical probs up the ying-yang. So if I can do it, you can get out there and do it, too!! I have faith in you!!! 🙂 Whether you’re a first-timer or “fearless pro”, trust me that you’ll really enjoy this! “Elegantly simple and delicious!” 😉 Have a beautiful day! Get out and take a walk and enjoy the new season, because before we know it, it will be fast gone! Have a beautiful day!
BUTTERFLIED & GRILLED LEMON-ROSEMARY CORNISH GAME HENS with HONEY-APRICOT GLAZE
2 cornish game hens, thawed (*they are usually wrapped individually and frozen)
1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed or concentrate
1/4 cup light salad oil such as canola
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic, fresh or jarred
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground rosemary, or 3/4 tsp. dried crushed
extra coarse ground black pepper
extra canola oil for grill grates
1 Tbl. real butter
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 tsp. honey
Thaw hens, remove packaging and bag of innards inside of cavity. Rinse with cold water inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. With kitchen scissors, cut along each side of backbone, holding onto the triangular piece of end fat, and snip all the way up to neck opening removing backbone (and neck bone if still attached). Open, set on cutting board skin side-up and press in center to flatten. Trim any excess skin or fat. Set aside to dry a bit while whipping up the marinade.
In glass bowl or measuring pitcher, add all marinade ingredients and whisk well. Place hens into ziploc baggie, skin sides facing outward, and pour marinade into baggie, on both sides and in between. Remove air and seal well. Squish around to well coat. Pop into fridge for 3-4 hours, laying flat, and turning every 30-45 minutes.
When marinating time is up, remove from fridge and set on counter while heating up the grill to high and warming the glaze.
For glaze, place butter, preserves and honey in small metal, grill-safe saucepan and warm on low on stovetop until melted and combined. Remove and take out to the grill along with tongs (plus sharp spatula “in case”), a grill mitt, timer, large clean plate, pepper, small bowl with a little oil and a wadded sheet of paper towel (to wipe grill grates), the apricot glaze with a brush, and the hens! (I always like to bring a little paper towel too, for my hands and the tongs. You can also bring a tall glass or large mug of hot water out there to place the tongs in when not in use. Then just wipe off with paper towel before using each time.) I put everything on a paper towel-lined cookie sheet – – for easy clean-up and so things don’t slide around – – and only make one trip! 😉
Grill should be heated to high to start, turning all four burners all the way up, with lid closed. Let it reach at least 400 degrees, a little higher even better. Open lid and wipe center of grill with oiled paper towel using tongs and wearing a mitt, it will be very hot. Remove cornish hens with tongs, one at a time, from baggie and place onto hot grill skin side-down. Immediately turn center burners down to med/med-low, and the outer burners down to low. Close lid and set timer for 15 minutes. Do not try to move hens before the time is up! Just leave them be. *Adjust and keep temp at about 375 degrees. (Discard marinade.) After 15 minutes, turn hens. (If a little is stuck grill a few minutes longer or just use a sharp spatula to release.) After turning, sprinkle top, (skin side), with a little extra pepper because a lot of the pepper from the marinade always seems to stick to the bag. Close lid and set timer for 15 minutes. During last 2 minutes, place pan of glaze onto far side over low to rewarm. When the second 15 minutes is up, with grill mitt on, (pan handle may be hot!), baste top (skin sides) with half of the glaze. Turn and grill 1-2 minutes making sure you don’t burn the sugary glaze. Baste top after turning, and then turn to grill basted underside. (1-2 minutes also.) Place onto platter skin side-up.
Let rest at least 10 minutes tented with foil before serving. I like to place these onto serving plates whole as is, with side dishes, fruit and salad. They are just too pretty to cut! Enjoy!