Lapsang Souchong-smoked Stuffed Cornish Game Hen

This is a fairly simple dish to put together that looks a bit more elegant on the plate than your average chicken. The Lapsang Souchong smoking imparts a deep, earthly flavor to the meat that pairs quite well with the flavor of the mushrooms. Complement the fowl with a deep red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Belgian Trappist beer.

Links:

  • Flickr photoset of the cooking, not entirely in order: here
  • Vote for me at TeaChef: here (recipe posted; voting not available until 25 January)
  • See all of the recipes for this month as well as past challenges: here

The tea-smoked Cornish game hen was an amazing success. I’m posting the extended version of the recipe here, and a slightly edited version will enter the January TeaChef contest run by the folks at Adagio Teas. Please go and vote for me – polls open on the 25th and run until the 31st.

Many, many thanks to Geoff for providing the basic choreography of smoking meat on a stovetop smoker with tea; he has an excellent recipe for tea-smoked duck breast that inspired part of this technique.

Serves 2.
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour
Ingredients:

  • 1 Grand Cornish Game Hen (approx. 1.5 lb.)
  • 3-4 Tbsp. loose-leaf Lapsang Souchong tea
  • 3-4 Tbsp. long grain brown rice
  • 3-4 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp duxelle de champignon (recipe follows)
  • 1/4 C fresh white bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine tea, rice, and sugar and stir to create the smoke mix. Heat smoke mix in a stovetop smoker over medium-high heat. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Meanwhile, rinse and pat dry the hen. Salt cavity and outside of hen. Place hen inside smoker and let stand on the heat for 10 minutes.

Remove smoker from heat and let stand for 5 minutes longer. Open and remove hen.

Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl and mix. Spoon stuffing into bird, full but not overstuffed.

Roast in oven for approximately 30 minutes or until thermometer inserted at thickest part between leg and thigh registers 170 degrees F.

Let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Duxelle de champignon (Mushroom Stuffing)

Makes a bunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. white button mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. scallions, finely chopped (about 2 stalks)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.

Roughly chop the mushrooms on the cutting board, then pulse in food processor until finely chopped, about the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Melt butter in skillet. Sauté scallions for a minute or two, then add the chopped mushrooms. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have exuded all their moisture and the pan begins to really sizzle. Season to taste.

Covered, this will last in the refrigerator for at least a week.

Recipe notes:

  • If the mushrooms are old, open, and/or turning black, twist the chopped mushrooms in a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much excess black juice as possible before sautéeing.
  • Season the duxelle lightly; correct the seasoning before its final use.
  • The duxelle could also be used as a filling for ravioli, a stuffing for stuffed mushrooms, part of a meatball recipe, or blended with some cream to make a cream of mushroom soup.
  • The skin of the hen will darken further during the final roasting. If the skin begins to turn too dark, cover with foil until roasting is complete.
  • If you don’t have a stovetop smoker, it’s not that hard to hack together. I used a small oval dutch oven lined with aluminum foil, a mini springform pan ring and a few bamboo skewers to prepare this dish.