Grilled Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter Recipe

The perfect symphony of flavors, this Grilled Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter recipe is sure to impress your guests. The tender hens are grilled to perfection and served atop fluffy rice. The star of the dish, however, is the unique Sicilian butter - a blend of flavorsome black olives, zesty orange, and savory anchovy paste. This mouth-watering recipe brings a touch of Sicily to your dining table.

Grilled Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter Recipe
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While most of the ingredients should be readily available in your pantry, there are a few you might want to check before heading to the supermarket. Cornish hens, a type of small chicken, are widely available but you may need to visit the poultry section or ask for assistance. Anchovy paste, used in the Sicilian butter, can be found in the canned fish aisle. If unavailable, whole anchovies blended into a paste can be used instead.

Ingredients for Grilled Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter

Butter: Acts as a binding agent for the rest of the ingredients and adds a creamy texture.

Black olives: Adds a salty, briny flavor that balances out the sweetness from the orange.

Anchovy paste: Brings a distinct umami flavor and a touch of the Mediterranean.

Orange zest: Adds a tangy kick and vibrant aroma that lifts up the dish.

Orange juice: Complements the orange zest and contributes to the citrusy note in the Sicilian butter.

Garlic: Adds a pungent, spicy flavor that heightens the dish's complexity.

Black pepper: Adds a subtle heat.

Cornish hens: Smaller than a regular chicken, but packed with flavor, especially when grilled.

Cooking oil: Used to prevent the hens from sticking to the grill and adds a hint of richness to the meat.

Rice: Served as a base for the grilled Cornish hens and soaks up all the lovely flavors of the dish.

One reader, Darda Steward says:

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This grilled Cornish hens with rice and Sicilian butter recipe is a game-changer! The flavorful butter adds a delightful Sicilian twist, and the hens turn out tender and juicy. The suggested wine pairing and side dishes elevate the entire dining experience. It's a must-try for anyone looking to impress with a delicious and sophisticated meal.

Darda Steward

Techniques Required for Grilling Cornish Hens

Prepare the Sicilian butter: In a food processor, puree the butter and olives with the anchovy paste, orange zest, orange juice, garlic, and pepper. Then, scrape the butter into a small bowl and refrigerate.

Grill the Cornish hens: Rub the hens with oil and cook over moderate heat for 12 minutes. Turn and cook until just done, about 12 minutes longer.

Serve with rice: Remove the hens from the grill and serve with the rice.

Top with flavored butter: Top each serving with 2 tablespoons of the flavored butter, letting the butter melt over both the hen and the rice.

Grill the eggplant: Grill some eggplant slices and drizzle them with balsamic vinegar to go with the hens.

Sauté broccoli rabe: Sauté broccoli rabe with garlic and a sprinkling of parmesan to match the Italian mood.

Select the wine: Choose a rosé, preferably from Sicily, Navarre in Spain, or the south of France to complement the dish.

How To Make Grilled Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter

Grilled Cornish hens are flavored with butter that’s been infused with anchovy paste, orange, and olives, and served atop rice, for a belly-filling meal!

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 8tbspbutter
  • 1cupblack olives
  • 2tspanchovy paste
  • 1tbsporange zest,(from about 1 navel orange), grated
  • 2tsporange juice
  • 2garlic cloves
  • ¼tspfresh ground black pepper
  • lbscornish hens,(2 pieces)
  • 2tbspcooking oil
  • rice,boiled or steamed

Instructions

  1. Light the grill.

  2. In a food processor, puree the butter and olives with the anchovy paste, orange zest, orange juice, garlic and pepper. With a rubber spatula, scrape the butter into a small bowl and refrigerate.

  3. Rub the hens with oil and cook over moderate heat for 12 minutes. Turn and cook for 12 more minutes, until just done. Remove the hens from the grill.

  4. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons of flavored butter, letting the butter melt over both the hen and the rice.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Calories: 880.65kcal
  • Fat: 73.59g
  • Saturated Fat: 26.66g
  • Trans Fat: 0.96g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 30.59g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 11.05g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.38g
  • Fiber: 1.32g
  • Sugar: 0.25g
  • Protein: 49.88g
  • Cholesterol: 349.09mg
  • Sodium: 496.74mg
  • Calcium: 78.43mg
  • Potassium: 706.20mg
  • Iron: 3.48mg
  • Vitamin A: 292.56µg
  • Vitamin C: 5.52mg

Grilling Tip for Perfectly Cooked Cornish Hens

When grilling Cornish hens, it's important to ensure even cooking. To achieve this, you can butterfly or spatchcock the hens. This involves removing the backbone and flattening the bird, which allows it to cook more evenly and quickly. Additionally, to enhance the flavor, you can marinate the hens in the Sicilian butter mixture for a few hours or overnight before grilling. This will allow the flavors to penetrate deeper into the meat, resulting in a more flavorful dish.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Cornish Hen Recipe

Plan ahead: Before starting the recipe, gather all the necessary ingredients and equipment to streamline the cooking process.

Multi-task: While the hens are grilling, prepare the flavored butter and rice simultaneously to save time.

Prep in advance: Marinate the hens in the flavored butter the night before to enhance the flavors and reduce prep time on the day of cooking.

Use kitchen tools: Utilize kitchen gadgets like a food processor to quickly puree the flavored butter, saving time and effort.

Organize workspace: Keep the cooking area tidy and organized to easily access ingredients and tools, minimizing time spent searching for items.

Substitute Ingredients For Grilled Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter Recipe

  • butter - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can be used as a healthier alternative to butter and still provide a rich flavor to the dish.

  • black olives - Substitute with kalamata olives: Kalamata olives have a similar briny and rich flavor that can replace black olives in the recipe.

  • anchovy paste - Substitute with miso paste: Miso paste can provide a similar depth of umami flavor as anchovy paste and is a vegetarian-friendly alternative.

  • orange zest - Substitute with lemon zest: Lemon zest can offer a bright and citrusy flavor similar to orange zest.

  • orange juice - Substitute with lemon juice: Lemon juice can provide a tangy and citrusy flavor similar to orange juice.

  • garlic - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can offer a milder and sweeter flavor compared to garlic, adding a different dimension to the dish.

  • cornish hens - Substitute with chicken thighs: Chicken thighs can be used as a substitute for cornish hens, offering a juicy and flavorful alternative.

  • cooking oil - Substitute with grapeseed oil: Grapeseed oil has a high smoke point and neutral flavor, making it suitable for grilling and cooking.

Presenting Grilled Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter

  1. Elevate the Cornish hens: Present the grilled Cornish hens on a clean, white plate, ensuring they are positioned elegantly and attractively. The hens should be the focal point of the dish, showcasing their golden brown skin and succulent meat.

  2. Garnish with Sicilian butter: Using a small quenelle or spoon, carefully place a dollop of the Sicilian butter on top of each Cornish hen. The butter should be delicately shaped and placed to add a touch of sophistication to the dish.

  3. Arrange the rice: Mold the rice into a neat, compact shape using a ring mold or a small bowl to create a uniform and visually appealing base for the hens. Ensure the rice is positioned neatly on the plate, complementing the hens without overshadowing them.

  4. Incorporate vibrant colors: Introduce a pop of color to the plate by adding a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or chives, over the hens and rice. The vibrant green hues will enhance the visual appeal and freshness of the dish.

  5. Create a harmonious composition: Pay attention to the overall composition of the plate, ensuring that the elements are balanced and visually appealing. Consider the placement of each component to create an aesthetically pleasing presentation.

  6. Emphasize precision and attention to detail: Wipe any smudges or spills on the plate, ensuring it is immaculately clean. Attention to detail is crucial in presenting a dish of this caliber to Michelin-starred culinary professionals.

  7. Consider the plate as a canvas: Treat the plate as a canvas, using negative space to enhance the visual impact of the dish. The arrangement should be visually striking while maintaining an air of sophistication and refinement.

  8. Highlight the flavors through presentation: Ensure that the presentation reflects the flavors and essence of the dish. The visual appeal should evoke anticipation and excitement, setting the stage for a remarkable dining experience.

Essential Tools for Making Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter

  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing ingredients. It's great for making sauces, dips, and flavored butters like the Sicilian butter in this recipe.
  • Rubber spatula: A rubber spatula is essential for scraping down the sides of bowls and spreading the flavored butter onto the Cornish hens.
  • Grill: The grill is used to cook the Cornish hens, imparting a delicious smoky flavor to the meat.
  • Cooking oil: Cooking oil is used to rub the Cornish hens before grilling to prevent them from sticking and to help achieve a crispy, golden-brown skin.
  • Small bowl: A small bowl is used to refrigerate the flavored butter before serving.

Storing and Freezing Leftover Grilled Cornish Hens and Rice

  • To store leftover grilled cornish hens, let them cool to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container or wrapping them tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

  • For the rice and sicilian butter, store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. The rice will keep for 3-4 days, while the butter will last up to a week.

  • To freeze the cornish hens, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Place the wrapped hens in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, label with the date, and freeze for up to 3 months.

  • When ready to reheat the frozen cornish hens, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the hens in a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.

  • It is not recommended to freeze the rice or sicilian butter, as the texture and quality may deteriorate upon thawing. It is best to make fresh rice and butter when reheating the cornish hens.

  • If you have leftover sicilian butter, you can use it as a flavorful spread on bread, toss it with pasta, or use it to sauté vegetables for a quick and tasty side dish.

How To Reheat Leftover Cornish Hens and Rice

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover cornish hens on a baking sheet and cover them loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the hens are heated through. This method helps to retain the moisture in the meat and prevents it from drying out.

  • For a quicker option, you can use the microwave. Place the cornish hens on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until the hens are heated through. Be careful not to overheat them, as this can cause the meat to become tough and rubbery.

  • To reheat the rice, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and add a splash of water. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until the rice is heated through. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

  • If you have leftover Sicilian butter, you can melt it in the microwave or on the stovetop. Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 10-15 seconds, or until melted. Alternatively, place the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted.

  • For a crispy skin on the cornish hens, you can reheat them in a skillet. Heat a small amount of olive oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat. Place the hens skin-side down in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the skin is crispy. Flip the hens over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until heated through.

  • To add some extra flavor to the reheated cornish hens, you can brush them with some melted Sicilian butter before reheating. This will help to keep the meat moist and add a delicious flavor to the dish.

  • If you have any leftover vegetables or side dishes, you can reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop. Place the vegetables in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, place the vegetables in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until heated through.

Interesting Fact About Cornish Hens

The recipe for grilled Cornish hens with rice and Sicilian butter is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The anchovy paste and orange zest in the Sicilian butter add a unique twist to the dish, enhancing the overall taste. The use of black olives and garlic further enriches the flavor profile, creating a savory and aromatic experience. The recommended wine pairing with a rosé from Sicily, Navarre, or the south of France complements the dish perfectly, showcasing the versatility of this recipe. This recipe offers a taste of Sicilian cuisine, bringing a touch of Mediterranean flair to the dining table.

Is Making Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this grilled Cornish hens with rice and Sicilian butter recipe largely depends on the availability and cost of ingredients. Cornish hens can be pricier than regular chicken, and the inclusion of anchovy paste and black olives might add to the overall cost. However, the dish's rich flavors and the use of simple, affordable ingredients like rice make it a worthwhile investment for a special occasion. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $30-$40. Overall Verdict: 8/10.

Is This Cornish Hen Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

The grilled Cornish hens with rice and Sicilian butter recipe is a delicious and flavorful dish, but it may not be the healthiest option due to the high amount of butter and cooking oil used. Here's a breakdown of the nutritional aspects:

  • Butter: The recipe calls for 8 tablespoons of butter, which is a significant amount of saturated fat. While some saturated fat is okay in moderation, excessive amounts can contribute to heart disease and other health issues.
  • Olives and anchovy paste: These ingredients add a nice salty and umami flavor to the dish, but they also increase the sodium content.
  • Cornish hens: These small birds are a good source of protein, but the skin is high in fat. Grilling the hens can help reduce the fat content compared to other cooking methods like frying.
  • Rice: Depending on the type of rice used (white or brown), it can provide a source of carbohydrates and fiber. Brown rice is generally considered healthier due to its higher fiber content and lower glycemic index.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of butter used in the Sicilian butter mixture, or replace some of it with healthier alternatives like olive oil or yogurt.
  • Use less cooking oil when rubbing the hens before grilling, or opt for a cooking spray to minimize the added fat.
  • Remove the skin from the Cornish hens before serving to reduce the overall fat content.
  • Choose brown rice instead of white rice to increase the fiber content and provide a slower release of energy.
  • Serve the dish with a variety of grilled or roasted vegetables to increase the nutrient density of the meal and provide a balance of flavors and textures.
  • Use fresh herbs and spices to add flavor without relying heavily on salt or high-fat ingredients.

Editor's Opinion on This Grilled Cornish Hen Recipe

The grilled Cornish hens with Sicilian butter and rice recipe is a delightful combination of flavors. The Sicilian butter, with its blend of olives, anchovy paste, and citrus, adds a rich and savory element to the dish. The grilling method ensures the hens are cooked to perfection, resulting in tender and juicy meat. Serving the hens with rice allows the flavors to meld together, and the suggested accompaniments of grilled eggplant and sautéed broccoli rabe add depth to the meal. The wine recommendation of a rosé from Sicily, Navarre, or the south of France is a thoughtful touch, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Enhance Your Grilled Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Grilled Eggplant Slices: Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with fresh herbs for a burst of flavor that complements the hens perfectly.
Sautéed Broccoli Rabe: Toss with garlic, chili flakes, and a squeeze of lemon for a zesty and vibrant side dish.
Roasted Red Pepper Salad: Mix with capers, parsley, and a tangy vinaigrette for a refreshing and colorful addition to the meal.
Mango Avocado Salsa: Combine diced mango, avocado, red onion, and cilantro for a tropical and sweet salsa that adds a fruity twist to the dish.

Similar Recipes to Grilled Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter

Grilled Lemon Herb Salmon: Marinate the salmon with a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs. Grill until flaky and serve with a side of roasted vegetables.
Mango Avocado Salsa: Combine diced mango, avocado, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice for a refreshing salsa. Serve with grilled chicken or fish for a tropical twist.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto: Sauté mushrooms and onions, then stir in Arborio rice and gradually add chicken broth until creamy. Finish with a touch of cream and parmesan cheese for a luxurious risotto dish.

Perfect Appetizers and Desserts for Grilled Cornish Hens

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: For a delicious and savory appetizer, try creating stuffed mushrooms filled with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for an extra burst of flavor.
Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil: Whip up a classic bruschetta by toasting slices of baguette and topping them with a mixture of diced tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. This appetizer is sure to impress your guests with its vibrant colors and refreshing taste.
Desserts:
Tiramisu: Create a decadent dessert by layering coffee-soaked ladyfingers with a rich mascarpone cream, dusting with cocoa powder for a finishing touch.
Panna Cotta: Indulge in a creamy, silky dessert made with sweetened cream and gelatin, topped with a vibrant fruit compote for a burst of flavor.

Why trust this Grilled Cornish Hens with Rice and Sicilian Butter Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful fusion of flavors, combining the succulent tenderness of grilled Cornish hens with the aromatic richness of Sicilian butter. The orange zest and juice infuse a refreshing citrusy note, while the savory blend of black olives and anchovy paste adds depth. The meticulous preparation of the butter, incorporating the finest ingredients, ensures a harmonious symphony of tastes. The meticulous grilling process guarantees a perfect balance of smokiness and juiciness in the hens. The suggested accompaniments, such as balsamic-drizzled eggplant and garlic-infused broccoli rabe, further elevate the dining experience, promising a memorable culinary journey.

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FAQ:
How long does it take to cook the Cornish hens on the grill?
It takes about 12 minutes on each side to cook the Cornish hens on the grill until they are just done.
Can I substitute the anchovy paste with something else?
If you're not a fan of anchovies, you can substitute the anchovy paste with a small amount of miso paste for a similar umami flavor.
Can I prepare the flavored butter in advance?
Yes, you can prepare the flavored butter in advance and refrigerate it until you're ready to use it. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.
What type of rice is best to serve with the grilled Cornish hens?
I recommend serving the grilled Cornish hens with a fragrant and fluffy basmati rice to complement the flavors of the dish.
Can I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of Cornish hens?
While you can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, the cooking time will be shorter, so adjust the grilling time accordingly to ensure they are cooked through without drying out.

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