11.17.09: dinner (spatchcocking)

Cornish Game Hen with Pancetta-Brussel Sprouts and Egg Noodles

Nothing, absolutely nothing, helps you get over the stress of a long, frustrating day like spatchcocking a game hen.  Simply put, using a heavy-duty pair of shears to cut out the birdie’s spine and pulling out the keel bone is therapy that no money can buy.  To my delight, last week I found my Fairway stocks twin packs of Cornish game hens for a reasonable price.  Long enamored with the classic Good Eats episode ‘Fowl Territory’, I decided it was time to dispatch a hen or two.

As I mentioned, I used my kitchen scissors to clip the ribs on either side of the backbone and cut out the keel bone.  In AB’s immortal words, I “opened the hen like a book” and pressed it flat.  I cut two slits in the skin around the cavity and inserted the end of the drumsticks to hold it all open.

I rendered some pancetta in my grill pan, removed the pancetta once browned then added two prepared birds with some sliced onions.  To increase heating, I put a screaming hot saute pan that I had in the oven on top (the part that normally touches the range touching the wee-chickens) and let it go for 5 minutes on high,  then finished for 15 more in the oven on full burn (500 F).

I transferred the hens to a plate and dumped the pan contents onto some egg pasta.  I sautéed some Brussels sprouts and re-warmed the pancetta in the departed pan fond to round everything out.  Once again, something intriguing at the supermarket has led to culinary fruition.  Be not afraid, dear readers.  Cook on.

  1. EEEK! Afraid of the spatchcock technique! I’m a sissy about bones and stuff…

  2. michael said:

    I always actually enjoyed getting down-and-dirty in the butchery/carving catagory, but it really helps to have a very clear picture in your mind about what you’re doing. Also, a nice pair of disposable nitrile gloves (like the ones the doctor uses, they’re usually purple or blue) may help to tone down the ick factor.

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