EntreeIshan Jain

Lacquered Cornish Game Hen with Jade Fried Rice

EntreeIshan Jain

We are lucky to have Chinatown in San Francisco, with all it’s unique sights and smells. This dish was inspired by my walks through this hectic, romantic, mysterious part of our city. I love finding ingredients that I haven’t cooked with before; it makes designing recipes more fun. And it’s nice to have them in my pantry or refrigerator when new ideas pop up. If you don’t want to use Cornish game hen in this recipe, substitute chicken or pork loin and the results will be just as good.

Active Time: 1 hour
Serves 2

Ingredients

Cornish Game Hen

1 1¼ to 1½ lb Cornish game hen, cut in half

Chinese 5-Spice Compound Butter

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice blend *
*a blend of ground Szechwan peppercorns, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon and white peppercorns

Lacquer

1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine, or sherry
1 teaspoon superior dark soy sauce – I like Pearl River Bridge brand
1 tablespoon apricot jam

Jade Fried Rice

Rice

½ cup Jade rice, or white short grain rice
¾ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
2 drops sesame oil

Stir Fry

½ cup peanut oil, or canola oil
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into halves or quarters
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ginger, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup Shaoxing rice wine, or sherry
5 water chestnuts, quartered
1 large egg
1 bunch (about 6) flowering chives, or regular chives, tops reserved, bottoms chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
½ teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
½ teaspoon black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons Thai basil, chopped – use regular basil if you can’t find Thai

Baby Bok Choy

6 heads baby bok choy – I like the Shanghai variety
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sesame oil

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Chinese 5-Spice Compound Butter

Mix the softened butter, Chinese 5-Spice and salt together in a small bowl.

Cornish Game Hen

Pat the game hen dry and place it on a plate in the refrigerator for a few hours to dry (if possible). Cut the bird in half lengthwise and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Run your fingers under the skin of the bird to form air pockets. Take a half of the compound butter and, using your fingers, push it under the skin of the bird, pressing to evenly coat.
Put the baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes. While the game hen is roasting, make the lacquer.
After 15 minutes, take the bird out of the oven and brush with half of the lacquer. Put the baking sheet back in the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.
Remove the game hen from the oven and brush with remaining lacquer. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Lacquer

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Jade Fried Rice

Rice

Put the rice, water, salt and sesame oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and cover with a lid. Once rice comes to a boil, stir it with a fork and turn the heat to medium-low. Cover and steam for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. Fluff with a fork.

Stir Fry

Pour the peanut oil into a sauté pan and heat on medium-high until shimmering. Add the shiitake mushrooms and salt and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the Shaoxing rice wine and cook until liquid has reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the water chestnuts and turn off the heat. Add the egg to the pan and stir gently.
Once the rice is ready, turn the heat back to high and add the rice to the pan. Cook rice for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring gently until all ingredients are mixed together. Turn the heat off and add the chives, scallions, sesame seeds and Thai basil.

Baby Bok Choy

Rinse the baby bok choy in a bowl of cold water. Heat a saucepan with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy with a splash of the cold water, salt and sesame oil. Cover and steam for 2 to 3 minutes.

To Serve

Place a scoop of rice on each plate. Lay ½ of the game hen on one side of the rice and the bok choy on the other. Garnish with the tops of the flowering chives.