There's poulet and there's poussin and there's pullets. Confused? Oh good! Last night's dinner was all of the above. Cornish Game Hens are just regular chickens only they meet their Waterloo when they're young and supposedly tender. Quite honestly I've never been much of a fan but that is likely due to the fact that I didn't know how to cook the darn things. The big guy took care of that little problem and hold onto your shorts - he's actually going to share his secret.
He cut the backbone of each bird out using kitchen shears, then spread it out spatchcock style. That's not the end of it though. The big guy takes it a step farther and actually removes the bones from everything but the wings and the legs. Now imagine your big guy deboning an iddy biddy cornish game hen? Mine does...neener, neener.LOL
Then he sprinkled both sides of each bird with lemon pepper, salt and granulated garlic. Removed to a large zip bag they marinated for an hour in a combination of the juice of one half lemon, juice of one and a half limes and the juice of a clementine - you could use an orange (he was just showing off). He also added a quarter cup of olive oil to the bag, zipped it up and let'em get all happy.
He cooked them over charcoal, skin side down on direct heat for 8 minutes, flipped them over on direct heat for another 7 minutes then slid them over to the cooler side of the grill, slathered them with a mix of my homemade Kumquat Tangelo Marmalade and a little water and cooked them for another 2 minutes. They were perfectly tender, moist and flavorful with very crispy wonderful dark skin thanks to the marmalade glaze - just the way we like 'em. (We love our carcinogens.)
While he was prepping the bird, he also helped prep the Orange Pistachio Wild Rice Salad that we served along side the cluck. This salad is adapted from Ellie Krieger at Food Network and combines wild and brown rice with orange, basil, red onion and toasted pistachios. We also added 8 beautifully ripened seeded and sliced kumquats from our trees. The trees are just getting ready to bloom again so we cleaned 'em of the last golden orbs and before Thanksgiving we'll be enjoying a bumper crop.
My critique about the salad - now I could have said nothing and let you reach your own conclusion, but after all wild rice ain't that cheap so I'm going to be dead honest. I didn't like the salad much - it was mushy and kind of milquetoastesque...now there's a word for the week. Instead if you're going to make a wild rice salad, try the one we made last August or even a combination of the two. My favorite is full of wild and white rice, cooked separately so they don't turn to mush and then combined with toasted pecans,apricots, and dried cranberries in an orange and balsamic vinaigrette. It is absolutely bar none - THE BEST! Just sayin'. See? Now honest, tell me...which one would you rather eat?