i remember loving when we'd have cornish game hens at christmas instead of turkey. each of us got our own lil' bird and i just thought that was the coolest.
and i remember them being pretty darn tasty too.
so when i noticed that one of my favorite local chicken farmers had them available i decided to pick some up.
i didn't want to just roast my cornish hens in the oven for a couple of reasons. 1. it's freakin' hot outside and turning on the oven sucks and 2. grilling is usually a far superior cooking method anyways. i had to do some research and during the course of this research i learned two extremely interesting things.
cornish game hens are NOT game birds! did you know that? i didn't. they are just really young chickens - like 5 weeks old or so. a little misleading huh? they kill 'em really young so they're cute and little and have tender white meat. and all those holidays i thought i was easting something exotic. nope. just baby chicken.
the other thing i learned was the term spatchcock.
spatchcock! haha! i had to try it!
so basically spatchcock is really just a much cooler way of saying "butterfly" though i guess it just pertains to poultry. i don't think you can spatchcock shrimp but you can spatchcock cornish hens and chickens. spatchcock! spatchcock! spatchcock!
i just love saying it!
i consulted my book shelf - specifically steven raichlen for some tips and i went to work.
i took my kitchen shears and cut down the length of the hens from the neck to the ass on both sides of the backbone to remove it. then i flipped 'em over and flattened 'em out. some sources suggested removing the breast bone too but these were tiny little birds and i didn't bother. (note - next time i will bother.)
i rubbed 'em down with some olive oil and a blend of salt, cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano and black pepper.
while the birds were relaxing i started a few other things. first of all i made croutons. homemade croutons are one of the finer things in life. if you're not making your own croutons please start. it's easy and so, so, so delicious.
i use whatever bread i have hangin' around and this time i went with a couple of herb rolls i won in a raffle at the farmer's market on saturday. while i cubed up the rolls i melted about 1/4 stick of butter in the microwave. once the butter was melted i stirred in a couple of tablespoons of grated parmesan - you know, "spaghetti cheese" - along with a lil' salt and pepper. i added the cubed rolls to a bowl and poured the buttery mix over top and stirred and tossed. then i baked them in the oven for about 10 minutes or so until golden brown and crusty. mmm....croutons....
i also did some brussel sprouts. no, these are not from our garden BUT we will have some at some point! we planted a whole row for god's sakes!
for the brussels i just halved them and sauteed them in a lil' olive oil and butter and then finished 'em with a nice squeeze of fresh lemon juice. mmm....brussels...
once the brussels were started and the salads were fixed (lettuce & onion from the garden!) i got my spatchcocked birds on the grill. i also took a tip from gin's pseudo-father-in-law and grilled some onions. i selected a couple of smaller ones from the garden, halved them and then tossed them with a lil' olive oil and salt and pepper.
i started the birds skin side down and cooked them for about 10-12 minutes. then i flipped them and cooked them for another 5 minutes or so. by then the onions were finished up too.
here are my birds once they made their way back indoors. mmm!
and here's the whole spread. a delightful sunday feast!