Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spit Roasted Game Hens and Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

With crisp but pleasant Autumn air around I'm still roasting on the grill. Today I'm preparing spit-roasted Cornish game hens, which I discussed in more detail previously.   But those were oven roasted hens and I thought the smell and taste of fire roasted hens turning on a spit sounded particularly nice. I enjoyed sitting outside with the birds while they roasted, even though they needed no attention from me.

Half Spit-Roasted Game Hens with Brussels Sprouts and Rice
Roasting game hens is a simple task. I did two 22 ounce hens and cut them in half for serving to four adults.  Just wash, dry and then rub the hens in melted butter. Coat with your favorite rub or other seasoning and mount of the spit. I preheat my gas grill to 400F and also use the smoker box when I can. Then when the birds are mounted over the fire, I reduce the temperature to about 325F and let them slowly cook for 50 minutes or so before finally turning up the temperature to crisp up the skin. In all they were on the grill for about an hour.

I remove them from the spit and let them sit while we are having our first course. This assures the juices stay in the meat when the birds are cut for serving.

Julian's 22 Ounce Game Hens on the Spit
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts always seem like a good fall food to me, although they are widely available year around and always of the same high quality. In any case, since I often prepare them other ways, today I thought I would give you the easy, classic technique that I often use when I don't want to turn on the oven. As the game hens are roasting on the grill it seems like quite a waste to heat up the oven just for the vegetable side. So instead I'm going to par boil then sautee the sprouts.

Par Boiled Sprouts Get a Warm Up in Seasoned Butter
Clean your sprouts by trimming off the stem end and any loose leaves. Cut a deep 'X' into the stem end to permit the water to penetrate. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop in the sprout. Stir them periodically during the 5-8 minutes of cooking time to ensure even cooking. Test a sprout by sticking it with a fork or removing it and cutting it in half. You want them to be firm but nearly done. Do not overcook them as you do not want them to be mushy.

Note:  I leave them whole but you can just as easily cut them in half which means you do not need to cut the 'X' into the stems.

When the sprouts are just fork tender, transfer them into a dish of cold water to stop the cooking. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside. You can prepare the sprouts to this point well ahead. Immediately prior to serving, melt some butter in a saute pan. Toss in the sprouts and cook turning several times in the melted butter. Season with salt and pepper, or other spices of your preference. Cook until wamred through and serve.

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