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Piri Piri Cornish Game Hens with citrus-honey dipping sauce

Feast from the Fire by Valerie Aikman-Smith, published by Ryland Peters & Small Photography by Erin Kunkel © Ryland Peters & Small

 Valerie Aikman-Smith   Winter 2020 Join us on        @thebbqmag

 #ValarieAikman-Smith #PiriPiri #Game #Poultry

 

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If you can’t find Cornish game hens, you can use poussin and if you are not sure about butterflying the birds, ask your butcher to do it for you. Serve these hot off the grill with a cooling citrus-honey sauce and a large crispy green salad.

Serves 4

 

 

  • 2 Cornish game hens or poussins
  • 6 hot red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • 125ml olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Oil, for brushing the grate

For the Dipping Sauce

  • Zest and freshly squeezed juice of 2 tangerines
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp toasted
  • Sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • ½ Serrano chilli, thinly sliced


 

 

  1. To butterfly the hens, lay them breast-side down on a worktop and cut down each side of the backbone using sharp scissors. Discard the backbone. Open the hens up like a book and lay skin-side up in a ceramic dish.
  2. Place the chillies, paprika, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil in a blender. Process until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the hens and place in the fridge uncovered for 6–24 hours (leaving them uncovered gives a crispier chicken skin).
  3. To make the citrus-honey dipping sauce, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Heat the grill/barbecue to medium–high. Brush the grate with oil.
  5. Remove the hens from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Place the hens skin-side down on the grill and cook for about 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Turn the hens over and turn down the heat or move to a cooler part of the grill. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Check if they are done by inserting a knife to see that the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear.
  7. Remove the cooked hens from the grill to a chopping block, tent with foil, and rest for 5 minutes. To serve, cut the hens up and serve with the chilled citrus-honey dipping sauce.

 

 

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