Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Don't You Hate It When Fate Stomps All Over Your Creativity?

The property upon which my barn sits is crawling with blackberry bushes. Often in the summer after a ride, I'll go around picking berries and eating them till my little heart is content.

I've always long to do more with the berries though. I thought about making a dessert, but Sir Pickypants isn't fond of blackberries and many of the berries weren't all that sweet. I had a brilliant inspiration for a savory meal that even Sir Pickypants couldn't resist.

One thing I learned about blackberries since discovering all of these bushes, is that blackberries ripen and rot very quickly. I would go to the barn one weekend and find a bushful of unripe berries only to return the following weekend to find the same bush filled with overripe and shriveled berries (one would think the bears and deer would have consumed them before they had a chance to get that way). I risked poison ivy, ticks and lots of thorn pricks for very little berry harvest. Last week the season had clearly ended with only a few bushes of unripe berries left.

I had to get my blackberries the old-fashioned way.

Wait. What did I just say?

There used to be quite a bit of fresh mint growing alongside the entrance road. There was so much of it that on a rare hot day, one could smell the fragrant plants just by standing nearby. Unfortunately, it was weed-whacked before the last competition. I did manage to find a few plants that survived the slaughter. I incorporated those into my dish too.

So now I present my dish, Cornish Hens with Blackberry-Balsamic Glaze and Fresh Mint. I decided to prepare these the same way I made my raspberry-glazed corninsh hens. I split them, browned them in a pan, then glazed them and finished them in the oven.

If you think the purple color is scary, you should have seen them when I first poured this glaze on. They looked like they were starring in the poultry version of Carrie.

At least I got what I wanted in the end. Cornish Hens with a blackberry glaze. They were pretty good. I thought the glaze wasn't sweet enough when I started, but once it came out of the oven, it was perfect. I really liked these hens in general. I bought them at Whole Foods and they came in a package of two "petite poulet". They were so incredibly juicy and flavorful.

BTW, I apologize that there was no Sweet Treat last week or this week. I have not had much time, and even worse, not much money, for baking. I just don't have the dough for chocolate and butter right now. I'm afraid you'll have to wait yet another week for the next one as I'll be away next week. (That being said, I wouldn't be averse to the idea of a guest blogger if someone wanted to post a Sweet Treat or other recipe here in my absense.)

Cornish Hens with Blackberry-Balsamic Glaze and Fresh Mint

2-4 Cornish hens, backbones cut out (You will save the backbones for stock, yes?)
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil
6 oz. blackberries
2 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl honey
1 handful fresh mint leaves
Preheat oven to 350.

Puree berries and strain out the seeds. Heat in a small saucepan with vinegar and honey. Take it to a simmery-kind-of-boil for a few minutes until it has a nice glaze-y consistency.

Heat some oil in a large pan. Gently loosen the skin of the hends and place mint leaves underneath. Give them one good press-down to flatten them as much as possible and place them skin-side-down in the hot oil. Get them nice and brown.

Brush the glaze over the hens generously and place them skin-side-up on a baking sheet or pan. Roast for 30 minutes.

Cut in half again for ease of eating.


Sue said...

Lovely recipe. The blackberry glaze would be sooo good with duck too.

Donna-FFW said...

Wow what a flavorful galze. I am always looking for different ways to cook cornish hens. Lovely!

Susan @ SGCC said...

Sounds lovely! I haven't had Cornish hens in eons! I just never think to make them. I will have to try this recipe soon, while I can still get fresh blackberries around here.

Lo said...

First -- SO jealous. A property crawling with blackberries sounds just like heaven to me! Locally grown blackberries are a relative rarity here -- and when I find them, I always buy up as many as I think I can eat. Usually they get gobbled before I can make a real recipe, though :)

I'm with Sue -- I'll bet this would be fantastic with duck, and it's giving me a serious craving.

The Duo Dishes said...

We have made blackberry reductions, but only for desserts. No reason why it can't work for chicken. Great one.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Sue - YESSSSS DUCK! Now I want to make this glaze with duck. In fact, I want to try duck with my raspberry-mint glaze too. (I just realized now how similar the two glazes are)

Lo - Sorry you have a sparse berry population. It's hard not to simply eat the ones you find, which is exactly what I did with the meager wild blackberry harvest I had.

See my response to Sue. I'm craving duck now. I've never made duck and I keep saying that I will.

SGCC - Definitely try this while the getting is good for the berries. If blackberries aren't around, try raspberries with raspberry vinegar.

Donna - Cornish hens just rock, don't they? I love the fact that I can eat an entire chicken and not look like a total pig!

DD - I know you guys can dream up a good savory reduction. You're creative like that. Definitely try it.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I think I could use that glaze in many things! Sounds delish!

Adam said...

The old fashioned way had be cracking up... that was great.

Well at least you didn't risk any bruises or cuts from the cornish hens, that would of been dangerous :)

I really like having sweet sauces and glazes this summer, it just pairs with poultry and white meat so well. This looks delicious on just about any canvas.