To even the most seasoned home cooks, the task of preparing a thirty pound bird can be daunting. To the lonely bro, it’s downright ludicrous. By substituting the humble Cornish Hen, one can get the delightful visual of a whole golden-roasted bird. Better though, is that one can eat the entire thing and pass out on the couch, just like when one wasn’t a lonely bro, when someone else had painstakingly cooked all morning. With minimal preparation, this recipe goes from zero to yum in about fort-five minutes. Robert Mondavi Private Selection Central Coast “Coastal Crush” is a great wine to accompany, with subtle spice notes that echo the clove brine, and a suppleness matched by the rich pan jus.
For the brine
- 10 Quarts water
- 2 Cup kosher salt
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 Tablespoon cloves
- 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
For the mashed potatoes
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 3 Tablespoon butter
- 4 Tablespoon sour cream
For the beer cans
- 2 12 Ounce cans of beer
- 4 Teaspoon butter divided into two portions
For the rub
- 1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence
- 1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 Teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
For the pan jus
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- 2 Tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- In a large stock pot, combine all of the ingredients “for the brine” and bring it to a rapid boil over high heat.
- Add the potatoes. Once the brine begins to boil again, boil until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Using tongs, remove the potatoes from the brine and place in a microwave safe container with the butter and sour cream. Set aside.
- Add the hens to the brine. Once the brine begins to boil again, boil for 7 minutes.
- VERY CAREFULLY use tongs to remove the birds. Keep in mind that the cavities will be filled with hot liquid and that you don’t want to be wearing hot liquid. Transfer the hens to two cast iron skillets, and place in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool.
- While the birds are cooling, drink ¼ of each beer and add two teaspoons of butter to each.
- Using kitchen sheers, snip directly down the back of the cooled hens, starting at the tail and going up about ¼ of the way.
- Liberally rub the “rub” on to the hens.
- Carefully insert the beer cans in to the hens, trying hard not to spill precious beer.
- Place each can with the hen on top in a cast iron skillet.
- Place the oven temperature to 350 degrees and carefully place the skillets with the hens-on-cans in to the oven.
- Roast at 350 for 20 minutes.
- After the twenty minutes, increase heat to 500 for 7 minutes.
- Carefully remove the skillets from the oven. Using tongs, remove the birds from the cans and place on the plates on which you intend to serve them.
- Pop your potato mix in to the microwave for 4 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, pour each beer in to the hot skillets and transfer to the stove top. Over medium heat, whisk in each portion of cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and reserve. Boom, gravy… or as a sophisticated lonely bro says: “pan jus.”
- Remove the potatoes from the microwave and mash like crazy with a fork or potato masher.
- Shovel the potatoes next to the birds and douse with pan jus.
- Devour, and be thankful that another lonely bro was thinking about you long enough to write this recipe.
- By cooking the potatoes in the brine, we are seasoning the potatoes, but also adding potato starch to the liquid. When this starch clings to the birds, it makes for extra crisp skin.