Roasted Game Hens With Bacon

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The only way to make roasted game hens better than they already are is through the careful addition of some tasty bacon. Make roasted game hens with bacon with help from Balducci's Food Lover's Market's Corporate Executive Chef Jason Miller in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Robust Recipes
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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Jason Miller. I'm the corporate executive chef for Balducci's Food Lover's Market and today we're going to do a simple roasted pheasant wrapped in bacon and brined and roasted pheasant legs. Okay, what we're going to do today is we're going to do a real simple easy recipe for a game bird. We're going to do a pheasant here. You know there's an age old discussion about what's the best way to cook a bird like this, is it roasting it whole or is it breaking it down into parts and cooking it separately? Now, I mean obviously the best way to cook any kind of bird or meat in general is on the bone but when you have a bird like a peasant that has the white meat breast that's you know, they're slightly dry and the legs that are dark I believe the best way is to break it down. So what we're going to do is we're just going to cut the breast off the breastbone. We're going to wrap those, we're going to bard those with bacon. We're just going to wrap them in bacon. We're going to just criss those up in a pan and finish them in the oven and then the legs and thighs, we're going to take off. We're going to brine them in just a simple easy poultry brine. You can buy brines now at you know, most gourmet grocery stores. You can buy a brining kit. This is just a simple homemade brine with salt, sugar, a little bit of curing salt, some fresh herbs and some peppercorns. So what we're going to do first is we're going to bone this pheasant out. You know if you get this at you know your local gourmet grocery store or at you know, Balducci's you can get these guys to do this for you but what I'm going to do is I'm going to take the breast off the bone, leaving the wing bone on. I'm going to French that down, just give it a nice little presentation and then we're going to take the legs and thighs off together as one piece and we're going to sit those in a brine, basically cutting the chicken in quarters. It will be semi-boneless. There will be some bones in there. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to just run my knife pretty much right along the breastbone of this bird using my knife tip as a guide and I'm keeping it along the bone and then we're basically going to just remove the legs and the thighs. You run it up along the backbone here. You can actually kind of see an outline where the joints are, fully Frenched pheasant breasts. You want to be real careful when you are working with poultry and stuff like this with cross contamination and sanitation. You want to make sure you know, you're washing your hands or watching what your knife is then touching next. You want to be very very careful when working with this kind of protein. So basically what we're going to do now, I'm going to wash my hands, cured unsmoked bacon, real simple and it's really common especially for when you are cooking pheasant, to bard it, to introduce fat on the outside or the inside which is called larding. You know, it's known to have you know, quite a very dry, it's a very dry bird but very tasty nonetheless, just dry. So I have four pieces for each breast. You could do two, you could do one, you can do six, whatever you want to do. I like bacon and I like my breast to be moist. Let's do our other breasts in the center, rolling it over, pulling it back, tightening it up a little bit, giving it a quick roll. A couple of toothpicks. Okay we've got our birds browned off. Like I said we're going to put them in at the same time but I'm going to take the breasts out a little bit sooner just due to the difference in cooking time. I want to do these nice and slow kind of between 300 and 325, really let that bacon slowly crisp up, and you know, get introduced into these dry breasts. These legs have been brined so the brine, you know, it starts the preserving process. It's starting to break down the connective tissue. It's got the curing salt in there. So the breasts have been in for a few minutes now, about 15, cooked nice and slow, check them with our thermometer. They have come up to you know, 165 degrees which is where you want to be with this bird, this bird in particular. Our thighs are going back in. We're going to let those go another few minutes, probably another 10 or 15 so while these breasts are resting, we're going to check on our legs and thighs. They look great, nice and colorful, got a great little crisp on them and you can really see what that brine does. It turns this meat a great nice red color and what you're going to do is we'll do a half a pheasant for an order. We're going to plate this up, here we go, very simple, easy, bacon wrapped pheasant breast with a brined and roasted leg and thigh.

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