Sunday, April 04, 2010

Cornish Game Hens with Almond Sauce

When my sister, Ellen, and I were growing up this was always our main course for Christmas dinner.  Now, I make it more often, but I still think that it's special. I know that a sauce made with canned soup sounds pretty awful, but try it.  This is delicious.  I have also made this by starting this with a homemade chicken veloute sauce (Make a roux with butter and flour, and add chicken stock). It's probably a little bit better, but more work. This sauce is very good on roast chicken if you want a more economical meal.

For the hens:
I usually estimate 1/2 hen for every woman and a whole hen for every man. You might want to cook 1 extra for seconds.

Ask the butcher to split the hens in half and remove the backbone. 
Preheat oven to 400.  Pat hens dry and place on an oiled broiler pan or roasting pan. Sprinkle inside and out with salt & freshly ground black pepper.  Brush with a mixture of melted butter, lemon juice, and a little water.

Bake 30-45 minutes, brushing with butter mixture every 10 minutes.  Roast until skin is golden and juices run clear. If not brown enough, run under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to get them nice and brown.

Almond Sauce

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 stick of butter
1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 cup dry sherry
juice of 1 lemon or to taste

Saute almonds in butter.  Remove almonds from pan, but leave butter. Add soup.  Heat gently, whisking until smooth.  Add the sherry and lemon juice. You can make ahead to this point.  Reheat, taste and add more lemon juice or sherry if necessary. If sauce is too thick you can thin with a little water. Stir in almonds.

Serve each game hen with a spoonful of sauce and serve the rest in a sauceboat.

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