Thursday, April 16, 2009

Salt Baked Cornish Hen

Sara Gibbs, this recipe is especially for you. Sara is a research assistant for a food writer. Her name is Molly O'Neill and she is working on a cookbook that will be a collection of recipes from home cooks. She hopes to celebrate the "glorious amateur." I hope that this recipe and Salt Steamed Chicken meet with Molly's satisfaction to appear in her new book.


One Cornish Hen, rinsed and patted dry
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 quarter-size slices of fresh ginger, lightly smashed
1 spring onion, lightly smashed and cut into 1 1/2 -inch lengths
3 cilantro sprigs, plus additional cilantro leaves for garnish
1 star anise pod
1 tbsp Rose Dew Liqueur or extra-dry vermouth
4 1/2 pounds sea salt
Rub the cavity of the cornish hen with the rice wine and stuff with the ginger, scallions, cilantro sprigs and star anise.

Place the cornish hen, breast up, on a rack and brush the outside with the liqueur.

Let the chicken stand in a cool, airy place or place in the refridgerator uncovered, until the skin is dry to the touch, about 2 hours.

Truss the chicken with string. Wrap the chicken in a single layer of greased parchment paper; bring the ends around and fold them together on top of the breast to secure into a parcel. The cornish hen should be tightly wrapped in a neat parcel.

Pour the salt into a large corningware casserole or spun-steel wok that will hold the cornish hen snugly.

Turn the heat to moderately high and stir the salt frequently until it is very hot to the touch, about 10 minutes.

Carefully pour the salt into a heatproof bowl.about 1 inch from the bottom of bowl.   Set the parcel snugly on top of the salt, breast up, and cover completely with the reserved hot salt.

Cover the corningware casserole, transfer to cook in the microwave on high for 1/2 hour or alternatively, cook on the stovetop on moderate heat for 1 hour.

Check for doneness by brushing off the salt, open the parcel(be very  careful, chicken will be hot) and piercing a thigh with a sharp knife. If the juices are still pink,re wrap the parcel and re-cover with salt,  continue to cook for another 15 to 30 minutes.

Push the salt aside and carefully remove the cornish hen from the parchment paper, try not to tilt the chicken and spill the juices. Set the chicken on a large platter and remove trussing strings. Cut the cornish hen in half or use a cleaver to chop it Chinese-style into bite-size pieces.
Serve hot or at room temperature, garnished with cilantro leaves.



Mary said...

Lily, this looks wonderful! Sara and Molly can't help but be delighted with this one.

Stephy said...

I just wanted to let you know that I love this blog. Discovered it while trying to find a recipe for pita bread and then loved your little fish shaped kanten.

I just started my own food blog. Trying to get it up and running given that I've been an avid foodee for years now.

Just wanted to share my appreciation for you. That's all.

昕倩 said...

Hi Lily

Everytime visit your blogs, I feel hungry..although I am on diet.hee

I just wan to said thank you for the sharing, I hv many more to learn from you!

Well done and keep it up.

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