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Soy-Braised Cornish Hens with
Coconut Pineapple Sweet Rice



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La Belle Cuisine


Soy-Braised Cornish Hens with
Coconut Pineapple Sweet Rice
Susanna Foo, Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine,
Philadelphia, PA
'America’s Best Chefs'
Editorial Director: Judith Hill, 1995, Food & Wine Books,
American Express Publishing Corporation


“To complement her moist, flavorful Cornish hens and slightly sweet rice,
Chef Foo adds a bit of bitterness and spiciness by serving broccoli rabe
sautéed with crushed red pepper. You can pass the extra soy braising liquid
with the hens at the table and keep any leftover liquid in the refrigerator
for up to a month. Use it to braise meat or poultry, or to flavor soups,
stews or stir-fries.”

Chef’s Wine Suggestion: The sweet but subtle flavors of this dish
work well with the sweet fruit offered by many young California
merlots or pinot noirs.

Serves 6

1/4 cup cooking oil
3 scallions including green tops,
|cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, crushed
One 3-inch piece fresh ginger,
cut into 1/8-inch slices
4 star anise
1 1/2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
3/4 cup sake or dry Sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups water
6 Cornish hens (about 1 pound each)
Coconut Pineapple Sweet Rice (recipe follows)

1. Heat the oil in a large, enameled, cast-iron casserole over moderately
high heat. Add the scallions, garlic, ginger, star anise, and peppercorns
and cook, stirring, until the scallions are golden, about 3 minutes. Add
the soy sauce, sake, sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat
and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
2. Add the hens to the casserole. Cover, reduce the heat to moderately
low and simmer, turning the hens over every 10 minutes, until just
done, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the hens
stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the hens. Strain the
braising liquid and skim off the excess fat.
3. Serve with the sweet rice and some of the soy braising liquid.

Coconut Pineapple Sweet Rice

“[This dish] would also complement ham (or any pork),
duck or roast chicken.”

Serves 6

2 cups sweet rice
(also known as glutinous rice,
available at Asian markets)
1 quart water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 small butternut squash (about 3/4 pound),
peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon butter
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1. In a bowl, cover the rice with the water. Let it soak for at least 4 hours
or as long as overnight. Drain well. Return the rice to the bowl and stir
in 3/4 teaspoon of the salt.
2. Line a large bamboo steamer with a double layer of moistened cheese- cloth. Spread the rice in the steamer. Cover and steam the rice over
high heat until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. If the water evaporates, add
more. Transfer the rice to a large bowl. Alternatively, put the rice in a
large strainer. Spread it up the sides of the strainer. Set the strainer
over a large pot of simmering water and steam, stirring the rice several
times while it cooks.
3. Meanwhile, steam or boil the squash until tender, about 8 minutes.
Add to the rice in the bowl.
4. In a small stainless-steel saucepan, combine the coconut milk, pine-
apple, butter, sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring just
to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Stir into
the rice and squash and serve.

Chef’s Tip:  Soaking and then steaming the rice eliminates any
extra moisture, making the rice somewhat less sticky and helping
to bring out its flavor.

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