Roasted Game Hens and Alternative Thanksgiving Ideas
Don’t like turkey? Flying solo November 24th? On a gluten free diet? Thanksgiving can be tricky(er) under these conditions. Have no fear, today we’re discussing Alternative Thanksgiving Ideas, starting with Roasted Game Hens.
Preparing a lavish Thanksgiving dinner is complicated, but there are certain things that can make it even harder to handle. I’ve received questions lately about what to do on Thanksgiving if:
You don’t like turkey. Well, HAM is my gut reaction. Pork, pork and more pork will solve nearly any dilemma as far as I’m concerned. But there are those out their that prefer not to eat pork. My second choose would most definitely be Cornish Game Hens. Game Hens are individually portioned, cook fast, and are ultra moist and tender. They do not dry out easily like turkey, yet leave you with the satisfaction on having a luxurious bird for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Your family is not coming in town. So you won’t have a massive herd huddling around your Thanksgiving table this year? That’s ok. Instead of feeling deflated and lonely on Thanksgiving day, try to think of this as a blessing in disguise. TRY. You won’t have the hours of cooking and cleaning that you usually do. You can FaceTime your loved ones, then share a small quaint Thanksgiving dinner with a friend or your immediate family, incorporating all the flavors you love on a much smaller scale.
- Again, consider Cornish Game Hens. They take up much less oven space and cook in a fraction of the time. You can serve each person their own tiny bird or have the butcher half them for you (as I did) so each person gets a breast, drumstick, thigh and wing.
- Use muffin tins. In one 12-cup muffin tin, you can place 4 stuffing portions, 4 rolls, and 4 mini apple pies, as long as the temperature and bake time is approximately the same. Saves oven space and clean up.
- Half (or quarter) your recipes. Instead of searching around for smaller recipes, use your good ol’ calculator and make your holiday favorites in much smaller portions.
- Make use of high quality store-bought items. As long as you’re considering this year a little break from the masses. There’s no harm in buying bread/rolls, beverages and desserts pre-made. Just make sure you get “the good stuff” so you still feel like your eating something special.
Beautiful Old Luxembourg Bakeware from Villeroy & Boch.
You will be feeding gluten free guests. If you’ve been around for a while, you know I am not a gluten free cook. I love cookies, cakes and bread with a passion. However, over time I’ve discovered I have a very mild aversion to wheat. Although I adore the smell and flavor wheat offers, (and will probably keep eating it in small portions) I feel fatigued and get headaches after meals that rely heavily on gluten. That being said, I think I can offer some help in this area.
Recently, I’ve discovered an online support community for gluten free living, sponsored by Udi’s Gluten Free Foods. Udi’s started in Denver Colorado, baking traditional and gluten free breads, and has made a name for themselves as the makers of the tastiest gluten free baked goods around. They have a HUGE Facebook following and have just set up a support community for anyone interested in learning about the gluten free lifestyle, or are in need of tips and recipes. I’m participating in the community launch and hope to learn a lot along the way. I know you will be able to find gluten free holiday recipe ideas there and individuals that can answer your questions. Check it out.
This gluten free dish could be the base of your Thanksgiving dinner. It serves 2-4 people with a side of buttery herbed veggies in the bottom of the pan. Add a small portion of cranberry relish, 1 or 2 extra sides, and a dessert and Thanksgiving dinner is served!
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Roasted Game Hens
1 ½ lbs. baby potatoes, halved if larger than 2 inches long
1 lb. carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 Tb. oil
2 Cornish Game Hens, halved by your butcher
1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter
Zest of 1 lemon
6 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
1 Tb. chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and place a rack in the upper middle position.
In a 9 X 13 baking dish, place the potatoes, carrots and onion. Toss with 1 tablespoon of oil and salt and pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, mix the butter, lemon zest, fresh herbs and garlic together with a fork. Set aside.
Pat the game hens dry with a paper towel, then rub the herb butter over the game hens coating on all sides. Salt and pepper liberally and lay all four pieces on top of the veggies.
Roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste. Then continue to roast for another 20 minutes, until the juices run clear when pricked with a fork. Allow the hens to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.