Cider Brined Game Hen, Herbed Pan Jus

Recipe Courtesy of Estate Chef Tod Kawachi


2 ea Game Hens
1Tbl Cider Vinegar
½ C St. Supéry White Wine
2 oz Apple Cider
8 ea Shallots, large, whole peeled
2 C Chicken Broth
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 sprig Tarragon, chopped
1 tsp Parsley, chopped
1 tsp Chives, chopped
3 Tbl Butter, melted
Dijon Mustard-side accompaniment

Cider Brine:
1 C Kosher salt
½ C Light Brown Sugar
2 ea Bay Leaf
1 ea Thyme sprigs
1 ea Sage sprigs
1 doz Black Peppercorns
1 C Apple Cider
1 Gal Water


Combine all cider brine ingredients together and mix till dissolved. Rinse the thawed game hens under cold water. In a deep enough container to fit, submerge the hens in the brine, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Remove the birds and pat dry well before roasting.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush the hens all over with melted butter then place them on a roasting rack pan. Butter the whole shallots, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and place on the bottom of the roasting pan. Hot roast in the oven for 25 minutes, take the pan out and using a pastry brush, baste the bird skin with the remaining melted butter and pan drippings. Flip the roasting shallots over and return the pan to the oven to continue cooking approximately 20 more minutes or until internal temperature at the thickest part of the thigh reaches 160°F. When done, remove to a resting plate, set the shallots aside for garnish. Add the white wine to deglaze the roasting pan, scraping up the roasted brown bits while simmering the wine down to a syrup on a stove top burner.  Next add in the apple cider and chicken broth, strain through a fine mesh into a small sauce pot, bring to a simmer until flavor develops, add the chopped herbs and adjust seasonings. Serve alongside with the game hens, roasted shallots and a side of Dijon mustard.

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