Beer-glazed Cornish Game Hens? You Betcha!

| January 17, 2010 | 0 Comments

In Oregon, we’ve got the best of two worlds.

Wine lover? How ’bout some world-class pinot noir? Prefer white? No sweat. We’ve also got pinot gris that’ll knock your socks off.

And what if you’re into beer? Well, besides great wine, we have GREAT beer.

Turns out that Oregon has more breweries per capita than any other state in the U.S.

Why, just up the road in Keizer are fields of hops.

If you’ve never seen hops growing before, it will strike you as kind of other-worldly.

Ever been to the circus and seen a trapeze act with those rope nets underneath to catch the artists if they fall?

Well, imagine a field with a twine net suspended about 20 feet up and strings running down from that twine net to clusters of hop vines growing on the ground. The hop vines grow up the strings and into the net, turning it into a giant, living, floating carpet during the summertime.

Before moving to Oregon from Baltimore, I gravitated toward light pale ales like Rolling Rock or Belgian-style fruit ales like Framboise (raspberry) or Kriek (cherry). After moving here, I tasted my first wheat beer, called Hefeweizen. It’s a refreshing German-style unfiltered wheat beer that’s usually served with a wedge of lemon in this neck of the woods.

Then recently we took a field trip to a brewery in Silverton that changed my whole impression of dark beers. I’ve tasted dark stouts before and found the bitter finish overwhelming.

The guys at Seven Brides Brewing converted my taste buds.

The five business partners that own the brewery have seven daughters between them, hence the name. And their beers are named after their daughters. There’s Lauren’s Pale Ale, Emily’s Ember (a red ale), Oatmeal Ellie (a coffee-like beer with oatmeal flavor), Abbey’s Apple Ale (a combo of apple cider and light ale), Maggie’s Märzen (a traditional Octoberfest märzen with soft creamy texture and malty flavor), Weezin-ator (a dark doppelbock with toasty flavors and a lingering honey-sweet finish), and Lil’s Pils (a traditional bohemian pilsner that’s light and crisp). The brewery currently sells only to restaurants and pubs, but is about to bottle their own beer for retail distribution. In the meantime, the nice guys Seven Brides sent us home with a couple of growlers of beer for us to play around with in the kitchen. Charles wowed the family with his Linguine with Doppelbock Wild Mushroom Sauce. And vowing not to be outdone, I found a recipe for beer-glazed Cornish game hen in The Pacific Northwest, from Williams-Sonoma’s line of regional American cookbooks.

Just the idea of using the Oatmeal Ellie with some hoisan sauce and honey got my mouth watering. And based on nods of approval at the dinner table, the family agreed.

Beer-glazed Cornish Game Hens

Beer-glazed Cornish Game Hens

  1. Cornish game hens (one per person)
  2. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) hoisan sauce
  3. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) honey
  4. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml.) kosher salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml.) ground pepper
  7. 1/2 cup (120 ml.) dark beer such as a porter

NOTE: I doubled the above recipe to have enough glaze for 4 Cornish game hens

  • Combine hoisan sauce, honey, tamari, salt, pepper and beer and thoroughly mix.
  • Place the hens in a Ziploc bag or large bowl and pour in the liquid. Refrigerate for an hour, turning over the hens every fifteen minutes so that they’re evenly coated.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Take the hens out, place them in a roasting pan, and save the liquid marinade.
  • Bake for about an hour or until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F, periodically basting the hens with the liquid marinade.

NOTE: If the tops of your hens start to burn, put a sheet of foil over them to deflect the direct heat from your oven’s heating elements while they finish cooking.

Side dishes like wild rice, roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts will go fantastically with this dish.


— Vic

Tags: ,

Category: Poultry

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

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