Dry Martini Cornish Hens
|Cornish hens||28 Pound, giblets reserved for another use, cavities washed and patted dry (Four Hens, 7 Pound Each)|
|Juniper berries||2 Tablespoon, crushed|
|Lemons||2 , zested and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips|
|Unsalted chicken stock||2 Cup (32 tbs)|
|Gin||3⁄4 Cup (12 tbs)|
|Dry vermouth||1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)|
|Freshly ground black pepper||To Taste|
1. To make the marinade for the hens, in a small bowl, combine the juniper berries, lemon zest, 1 1/2 cups of the stock, 1/2 cup of the gin, the vermouth, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well.
2. In a large deep glass dish or casserole, arrange the hens without overlapping them. Pour the prepared marinade into the cavities of the hens and over them.
3. Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap refrigerate and allow the hens to marinate for 24 to 48 hours,
4. As they marinate, rotate the hens from time to time to keep them coated with the marinade.
5. Preheat the oven to 375° F 20 minutes before cooking time.
6. Remove the birds from refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking time.
7. Spoon a tablespoon of the marinade liquid, a few of the crushed juniper berries and some of the lemon zest in the cavity of each bird.
8. Discard the remaining marinade.
9. Using butcher's twine, bind the legs of each bird together.
10. On a large rack over a roasting pan, arrange the hens breast side up keeping a space between each bird.
11. Roast the hens in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes till they have turned golden brown and the meat is cook.
12. Removing the hens from the oven
13. Into the roasting pan, pour the juices and contents in cavity of each hen and arrange the birds on a warmed serving platter. Cover them with foil to keep warm
14. To making the sauce for the hens, place the roasting pan with the juices, over medium flame.
15. Pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of stock and 1/4 cup of gin.
16. Using a wooden spoon, stir to dislodge any brown bits from the pan and boil for 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half and has thickened.
17. Strain the sauce using a fine mesh strainer, into a sauce boat.
18. Serve the hens on a large platter or cut into half and arrange on dinner plates.
19. Pour the sauce over the hens to moisten them.
20. Garnished them with twists of freshly cut lemon peel.
21. Pass the remaining sauce at the table.