Friday, September 17, 2010

Game Hens in the Tuscan Way

This recipe came from Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue.  On page 377 I found "Tuscan-Style Chicken Under a Brick."  

I started by spatchcocking two game hens.  All this involves is using scissors to remove the back bone by cutting down either side of it.  This allows you to splay the birds out flat.

I have to tell you what made this recipe is the rub.  I still have it in the fridge and have used it generously on pork chops, chicken and even eggs.

Here's how you do it.

Place 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped into a food processor with2 Tbs each fresh chopped rosemary and sage.  Chop until fine.  Add salt and pepper and process to mix.

Man it's good.  I just like to open the Tupperware thing up and smell it.

Generously rub the birds down with your new blend.  Oil the grate and then place the hens skin side down using an indirect setup.  I forgot my drip pan (!) but it all worked out.  I just got my plate-setter sort of nasty.  Once you arrange the birds on the grate, flatten them out using a foil-wrapped brick.  Mr. Raichlen doesn't say anything about turning them over, but I flipped mine after about 20 minutes of a 30 minute cook at 350f.
They turned out quite tasty.  Neither my wife nor I thought we would finish our own birds, but sure enough we   ate every scrap.

That's not to say we didn't save room for dessert.  I tried using the Dutch oven for a little cobbler.  Google directed me to this site where I found the following recipe:

The Best Berry Cobbler

  • 5 Tbsp. butter (roughly 2/3 of a stick)

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 2/3 Cup sugar

  • 3/4 Cup milk

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 Cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)


  • 1/3 Cup granola

  • 1/3 Cup sugar

  • Use aluminum foil to cover the inside of a 12-inch Dutch Oven. Preheat the oven, and then melt the butter in it. To make the batter, mix the baking powder, flour, salt, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract very well. Pour the batter on top of the melted butter. Throw the blueberries on top of the batter. Bake at medium heat for 40 to 45 minutes. At about 30 minutes into the cooking sprinkle the granola and remaining sugar on top. The berry cobbler is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

    It was so good we're planning on doing it again for company tomorrow night.  Oh and it just doesn't taste right if you don't serve it with a little vanilla ice cream.


    1. What a fantastic dinner, Gray. The Tuscan chicken has been on my list on ones to try from Planet Barbecue! so I'm glad to hear it is a hit. We also just made a cobbler in the DO last weekend, great stuff.

    2. Except for the sage, that rub sounds like something I always have on hand, too. Steaks, grilled bread, and just about anything else are the better for using it. Eggs? I'm intrigued.

      I like the looks of those game hens, unfortunately my husband has an irrational fear of tiny poultry and I don't make them as often as I'd like.

      There's a recipe floating around out there for spatchcocked birds with a rosemary maple pepper sauce I've been meaning to try for ages. After seeing these little guys I just might get around to it this weekend.