Cornish Game Hens, Cooked under a Brick, with Orzo Risotto and Grilled Zucchini

Total Time:
1 hr 6 min
30 min
6 min
30 min

4 servings

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 2 Cornish game hens, about 1 1/4 pounds each
  • 4 bricks, wrapped in aluminum foil
  • 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
  • Orzo Risotto, recipe follows
  • Grilled Zucchini, recipe follows
  • Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Orzo Risotto:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1/2 cup small dice onion
  • 11/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock, kept hot in a saucepan on the stove-top
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Grilled Zucchini:
  • 2 (12-ounce) zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and crushed red pepper. Mix to combine and set aside. Place the hens on a cutting board. With a boning knife, cut along the backbone and remove. Place the hens breast-side down and using the heel of your hand, push down to break the breastbone and flatten. Tuck the wing tips behind the joint of the wing that meets the breast. Place in a 9 by 13-inch, non-reactive baking dish and add the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours, turning occasionally to evenly coat. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and preheat the bricks for 20 minutes. (Alternately, heat the bricks on the grill for 30 minutes.)

  • Preheat a grill to medium heat.

  • Remove the birds from the marinade and season on both sides with the Essence, salt, and pepper.

  • Place the birds, breast-side down, on the grill. Place 2 bricks on each bird to cover completely and flatten. Cook for 5 minutes, turn at a 90 degree angle and cook, for 5 minutes. Remove the bricks and turn the birds. Cook on the second side for 2 minutes, then turn 90 degrees and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the grill, place on a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut each bird in half lengthwise. Serve with the Orzo Risotto and Grilled Zucchini.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

  • Yield: about 2/3 cup

  • Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Orzo Risotto:
  • In a 2-quart saucepan set over a medium high heat, add the olive oil and butter. Once the oil is hot and the butter is melted, add the orzo and toast lightly, about 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the wine, stir, and cook to deglaze the pan.

  • Once the wine has nearly evaporated, add 2 cups of the stock, stirring constantly until the stock has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups of stock, the salt, and white pepper, and cook until it has been absorbed by the orzo. Add the parsley and stir to blend. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese. Stir in the butter and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Grilled Zucchini:
  • Place zucchini, salt, pepper and olive oil in a large mixing bowl and toss well to evenly coat. Place on a grill over low heat and cook, turning, for 3 to 4 minutes.

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