Roasted cornish hen with umami rice cabbage roll

I really came up with this dish because I wanted to do a cornish hen dish for a while, but was not fully sure where to go with it, initially. I wanted to do something a little European, but obviously a little Asian as well, and that’s how I came to the dish I came to. The idea of taking the hen, roasting the heck out of it, and getting that skin nice and almost charred, while also serving it with essentially a cabbage roll stuffed with an umami-filled rice, that sounds like food I would personally want to eat. The cabbage is first blanched to give it a vibrant green, but finish with butter to guarantee that it is sweet and tender to bite into. There needed to obviously be a sauce to serve with this dish, and since I already had bones from the hen, from having to de-bone it, I figured that just made the most logical sense to use that to make a stock, then use the stock to make the sauce! For the hen itself, I went with a simple marinade that uses oil, vinegar, garlic, and soy, to bring in that umami, but to also help tenderize the flesh. That same marinade is then used in the base of my stock, just so that it won’t have to go to waste, and to echo the flavor that the bird was seasoned with! This dish is both a no-waste dish, and a fun way to practice a couple new techniques as well!

For the hen:
1 cornish game hen
salt
pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce, in two parts
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons honey

With the hen, start by using kitchen shears to remove the spine. Using a knife, carefully extract the rib cage as well. Reserve those bones and pieces for your jus! You want the hen to be able to lay fully flat. In a bowl, mix together olive oil, vinegar, half of the soy sauce, and chop up and mix in the 2 cloves of garlic. Season the flesh and skin of the hen with salt and pepper, then marinate in the wet ingredients for 30 minutes. Reserve the marinade for your sauce. In an oiled pan, sear the hen, skin side down, on medium heat for 5 minutes. Flip, then transfer into an oven. In a pan, skin-side up, roast at 400 degrees F for another 15 minutes. Mix the remaining soy sauce with honey, and brush onto the skin of the hen. Bake for another 5 minutes. The bird will be done cooking once the juices run clear.

For the jus:
Reserved bird bones
1 shallot
oil
Reserved bird marinade
water
1 teaspoon miso paste
1 teaspoon black bean paste
1 teaspoon honey

Saute the bones and 1 diced shallot in a lightly oiled pan. Once the bones are golden brown and the shallots are translucent, add in the bird marinade first and allow that to cook down to a syrupy consistency(this guarantees that you just cooked off the salmonella!). Then thin out with enough water to fully submerge your bones, then add in the other ingredients. Bring to a simmer, with the pan covered, for 20 minutes. Then remove the lid and allow the liquid to continue boiling down until it reaches a rich, glossy consistency again. Strain out the solids.

For the rice:
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 clove black garlic
2 tablespoons miso paste
1/4 cup white rice
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup water
1 scallion, finely minced

Mince the black garlic into a paste and mix into the miso and soy sauce. Rinse your rice repeatedly until the water is no longer cloudy first. Then combine the rice with the miso-soy paste, the mushrooms, and water, and steam until cooked. Mix the chopped up scallion into the still-warm rice and allow that to sit until cooled down enough to hold with your hands.

For the cabbage:
6 leaves of savoy or green cabbage
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Blanch the cabbage leaves in salted water until bright green then place into ice water. Remove the large white stems from the cabbage. Arrange three leaves in a circle to form a large disk. Place half of the cooked rice into the disk and wrap the leaves around the rice. Repeat with these steps with the rest of your cabbage and rice. Place the cabbage parcels into the pan that you served the hens off in, and begin to baste the exterior of the cabbage with some butter on medium heat, just to caramelize the exterior and allow the sweetness of the cabbage to be drawn out. You should baste each cabbage roll about 20 times in total. Drain on a paper towel to remove the excess grease.

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