Sunday, July 7, 2013

Peruvian Roasted Cornish game hen, Brussel sprouts, and Aleppo Sour cream cornbread

What a meal! That's all I can say to describe one of the best dinners I've had in a while.
What had first been planned to be a single dish ended up being a trifecta of goodness:

1. Peruvian Roasted cornish game hen
2. Caramelized Brussel sprouts with Pancetta, parmesan, and almonds
3. Aleppo Sour cream cornbread

Top that with some white Pinot Noir wine and you've got a meal fit for a date (which is what it was).

The flavors were amazing - the spiciness yet tanginess of the peruvian roasted hen just melded together. Plus, the simplicity of working with the small hen outweighs all fears. Simply make a spice mix and baste it on the cornish hen. After marinating for a few hours, roast it for 40 minutes and voila! The beauty of this bird is that it's so small yet filling that a) it takes much less time to marinate and b) less time to roast than a traditional full fledged chicken. I had seen this recipe on Marc Samuelsson's food blog and it just caught my eye. The only minor issue I had is that it didn't really form a paste as the blog states. Still, the product was fantastic and I loved it. I definitely plan to make it again.

The second dish we made was also inspired by a dish created by Marc Samuelsson for his famous Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem - the Red Rooster Cornbread. When I had dinner there with my date a few weeks ago, one of the first dishes we had was the cornbread that people come far and wide from to eat and the cornbread certainly lived up to its reputation. It was moist, sweet, and flavorful especially with butter. Since that day, we had both been craving to re-create it in the kitchen. Fortunately for us, it was also posted on Marc's blog, and for this occasion, we recreated it from scratch. It was definitely delicious and was fantastic in soaking up the sauce from the peruvian roasted hen, but I feel that something is still missing in our attempt. I'm not entirely sure what that is yet, but when I find out, I will let you all know. In the meantime, it's a dish that is definitely worth attempting.

Finally, we made a dish that was inspired by a recent trip to a restaurant on 82nd and between 3rd-Lexington Ave called Toloache. It's a well-known restaurant that makes an amazing brussel sprouts dish with queso fresco. Just like the cornbread, the moment we had this dish, it immediately became part of our list of dishes to make. Unfortunately, queso fresco was more specialized than we thought, and so we adapted it using parmesan as cheese and slivered almonds instead of pine nuts. For once, I feel that we actually outdid the restaurant. The caramelized brussel sprouts just melted in your mouth and the explosion of flavors could not be matched elsewhere. Overall I give this dish an A+. I promise to post this recipe up once I figure out the details of how we made it.

Here's the meal in its entirety:

All in all, a wonderful meal, and I encourage you all to make it!


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