Spice-Rubbed Game Hens with Rhubarb-Date Chutney

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Spice-Rubbed Game Hens with Rhubarb-Date Chutney

Spice-Rubbed Game Hens with Rhubarb-Date Chutney

Tart rhubarb simmered in cider vinegar with chopped dates, brown sugar and cinnamon makes an excellent chutney to accompany tender game hens. The chutney would be delightful with pork as well. It freezes well, so if you like, you can make extra to enjoy throughout the year.

Serves 8

Prep Time 20 min

Total Time 80 min.

Ingredients

  • 1 orange
  • 4 Cornish game hens, about 1 1/2 pounds each (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped

Cooking Directions

Step 1

To prepare hens: Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a vegetable peeler, remove a 2-inch strip of zest from the orange, then cut the orange in half, squeezing juice out of one half and cutting the remaining half into 4 wedges. Place 2 tablespoons juice and the strip of zest in a medium saucepan for Step 4. Tuck an orange wedge into the cavity of each game hen. Sprinkle the remaining orange juice over the hens and place breast side up in a large roasting pan, leaving plenty of space between them.

Step 2

Stir together 1 tablespoon brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture over the hens and tie the legs together with kitchen string, if desired.

Step 3

Roast the hens until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, about 1 hour. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Step 4

Meanwhile, to prepare chutney: Add vinegar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon to the orange juice and zest in the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add rhubarb and dates, increase heat to medium-high and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the rhubarb is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Just before serving, remove orange zest.

Step 5

To serve: Remove string (if necessary) and skin from each hen. Turn breast-side down and slice in half lengthwise using a large heavy knife, cutting straight through to the breast side. Serve each portion with 1/4 cup of the chutney.


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