Marinated and Grilled Butterflied Cornish Hens with Blackberry Compote
- 2 Wagshal’s Cornish Hens
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary needles, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 scant pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 pint of fresh blackberries
- 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
- pinch of vanilla sugar
- In a nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat combine the blackberries, a pinch of vanilla sugar and the vinegar.
- Bring mixture to a low boil and turn off heat.
- Strain into a glass bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- Discard solids.
- Have Wagshal’s butterfly your hens or using kitchen shears. Remove backbones by cutting along both sides. Apply pressure with the palm of your hand to flatten.
- Rub your hens on both sides with the pepper, thyme leaves, chopped rosemary and red pepper flakes. Place them in a glass casserole dish and coat them on all sides with the blackberry marinade. Let stand in a cool area of your kitchen for an hour or so or cover and refrigerate overnight. If you’ve refrigerated your hens, let them come to room temperature before grilling.
- If using a gas grill: turn all burners of the grill to medium setting. If using coals: prep your charcoal fire ahead of time and spread the hot glowing embers evenly below the surface of grill.
- Place hens skin side down over direct heat. Tuck the wings under and close the grill.
- Cook for 10 minutes or so depending on their size, rotating your hens as needed so that their skins crisp nice and evenly.
- Turn them over and cook for 7+ more minutes or until their juices run clear when pierced with a knife. The meat should be rosy and spring back when poked.
- Transfer hens to a serving platter and cover loosely with foil until ready to serve.
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon shallot, minced finely
- 1 small sprig of fresh thyme
- pinch of sea salt
- ¼ cup vanilla sugar
- Generous splash of water
- 1 pint blackberries
- 1 Tablespoon quality vodka
- Place a medium size saucepan over medium high heat.
- Add the olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the shallots, thyme sprig, sea salt and stir. Sweat the shallots until soft and translucent for about 3 minutes or so. Add the vodka and cook for 2 minutes or so to burn off the alcohol. Add the vanilla sugar, a generous splash of water and half of the blackberries.
- Cook gently for 5 minutes or until the berries have released their juices and the sugar has dissolved. Press down on the berries with the back of a spoon. Continue to cook gently until the mixture is reduced to half or coats the back of a spoon.
- Strain the blackberry mixture into a glass bowl. Gently stir in the remaining fresh blackberries. Season with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. Discard solids.
- Spoon the blackberry compote over grilled hens. Garnish with a few thyme sprigs and serve.