Today was a day that I would rather forget. I took part in a competition and completely bombed. What makes this experience so frustration is that I know that perfect practice makes perfect performance and my practices were never perfect. I also find it very disconcerting that I clearing am not the cook that I was in my 30's. Having not worked in the daily grind of a kitchen for a few years’ now- my sense of timing and coordination are clearly lacking. I've never felt the inconvenience of getting old in my 40’s but this morning as I pulled my burned vegetables out of the oven, I couldn't help but long for, "the good old days" of my younger years when a hand full of practice dry runs would have been more than enough. Although cooking is the last thing I want to do right now, I thought I’d share a modified version of the dish I attempted. Cornish Hens with a Coconut Curried Sauce-- you can use chicken if you like; it will work just as well. Just remember to cook the chicken breast a bit longer.
The way you cut your chicken is purely up to you. I removed the backs and winglets for stock and cut the meat off the legs and thighs for the braised part of the dish.
This dish aims to please. The Cornish hen is prepared two ways—roasted and braised.
Cornish Hens with a Coconut Curried
2 Cornish Hens
2 tablespoons curry paste plus 1 teaspoon
¼ cup light coconut milk plus ½ cup more
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup peeled pearl onions
1/4 cup red pepper medium diced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
1 stick lemongrass
2 kefir leaves
1/4 cup cut carrots
1/4 cup cut parsnips
1/4 cup fresh water chestnuts
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
¼ cup scallions greens
In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons curry paste and ¼ cup coconut milk for marinade. Marinade the chicken for at least 4 hours. For best results let it sit overnight
Preheat a medium saute pan with 1 teaspoon olive oil
Remove breast from marinade and sear on skin side.
When the skin is brown, flip over and finish cooking it in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the juices run clear.
Season parsnips and water chestnuts with a little olive oil and salt. Place in a small pan a roast until tender
While the breasts are cooking, heat another skillet add olive oil, onions, garlic, ginger, red pepper, lemongrass, and kefir leaves.
Saute for about 2 minutes then add marinated thigh meat.
Add chicken stock; bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for about 20 minutes
Add ½ cup coconut milk, parsnips and water chestnuts; simmer for about five minutes more
Finish with cilantro and scallions
If you roasted the breast whole like I did, cut them down the center once you have removed them from the oven and they have cooled.
Serve and present as desired.
I find that I don’t need rice with this because the variety of vegetables are enough.