How ya’ll doing this week? I hope it’s been productive and there’s big plans for the weekend! I know it’s always easier for me to get through a work week when I have something to look forward to at the end but you still gotta eat. So what to feed yourself to get to that Friday is always a big question.
I have been working on and collecting a number of dishes that are healthy, quick and easy to prepare and most importantly; delicious! Like unicorns, many people believe these meals just don’t exist! While the jury may still be out on unicorns, I can tell you that the types of meals I just mentioned, do exist. As much as I love cooking “fancy” meals, I find it just as challenging and rewarding when I create something worthy of beating that Tuesday night, don’t feel like cooking, let’s just get take-out feeling. Something that is still nutritious and satisfying and will have you fed in time for a couch session with your favourite shows.
This dish I’m going to share with you is exactly what I’m talking about! It involves a little roasting, boiling and quick pickling. None of these things are super complicated and require little supervision so you can get yourself dressed down, send off the last emails of the day or tidy up all while the cooking happens on auto-pilot; just don’t leave the house with your oven on… You can even season the bird the night before so it’s ready to roast when you get home from work, but I leave that up to you.
Anyway, enough yammering on because this is after-all a school night.
Roasted free range game hen with new potatoes and quick pickled asparagus salad.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Special gear required: A mandolin, a meat thermometer, parchment paper and a good tv show
- 2 Free range game hens
- 1 Lb new potatoes
- 1 Cucumber
- 1 Red bell pepper
- 1 Yellow bell pepper
- 1 Shallot
- 1 Bunch of asparagus
- 1 Cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 Cup mirin
- 1 Tsp sugar
- 1 Tsp of Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Cracked black pepper
Stage 1: You ain’t never ‘salad’ like this before
- Whisk the rice wine vinegar, mirin and sugar in a bowl until the sugar dissolves.
- Use the mandolin to slice the cucumber and asparagus lengthwise. Be careful with your fingers on the asparagus. Just take your time with this one…
- Seed the bell peppers and Julienne these with the mandolin.
- Finally slice the shallot nice and thin. Thin is key with the quick pickle method…
- Place the veggies in the quick pickle liquid, cover and set aside until the birds finish roasting.
Stage 2: Don’t play games with these hens
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Season the hens with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper on all sides. That’s all the flavour they will need because roasting these beauties in their skin will do all the work for you. Trust me…
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the seasoned birds on the baking sheet.
- Place in the oven for about 45 minutes*
*Baste the birds with a spoon at least once when the juices start to run. Your oven may run hotter or cooler so check the temp in the breast meat without touching the bone around the 40 minute mark. Poultry is cooked when the temp reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit
Stage 3: Small potatoes
- Set a pot of water to boil. Much like pasta, I like to add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt to the pot water.
- After washing your new potatoes, cut them in half and throw in the boiling pot.
- These will take about 10 minutes and it can be done while the salad veggies are pickling and the hens are roasting.
- When you can stick a fork in them… they’re done.
- Once the hens are done, remove from the oven, tent them with foil and let them rest while you finish the salad.
- Drain the veggies and give them a tiny drizzle of olive oil and toss in the bowl
- Place a heap of your asparagus salad on the plate and then place your game hen. Drain the potatoes and snug those up on the other side of the hen and serve!
I know weeknight dinners are not as exciting but I am always pumped to eat something this good any day of the week. I hope you agree after trying this out.
Cheers and happy cooking!
Petey Pabs out…