“Game of the Day”: Roasted French Game Hen Breast, Crisp French Game Hen Thigh, Croquette Lollipop, Brussels Sprouts Purée, Butter-Poached Mushrooms, and Huckleberry Reduction

Adapted by StarChefs.com
November 2010
Yield: 4 Servings


Roasted French Game Hen Breast and Crisp French Game Hen Thigh
2 game hens
1 quart brine
olive oil
1 quart cold water
4 ounces Chardonnay vinegar
6 smashed juniper berries
1 chopped shallots
10 peppercorns
1 clove garlic
3 sprigs bruised Marjoram
Huckleberry Reduction
Game bones
2 juniper berries
Red wine
Dark chicken stock
1 cup huckleberries
1 diced shallots
3 egg yolks
1 pint heavy cream
2 fluid ounces pheasant or game hen glace
4 finely sliced chives
salt and black pepper
Toasted brioche crumbs
Brussels Sprout Purée
1 pound Brussels sprouts
3 cups heavy cream
Butter-Poached Mushrooms
5 matsutake mushrooms, halved or quartered
1/2 pound butter
1 ounce Chardonnay vinegar
To Assemble and Serve


For the Roasted French Game Hen Breast and Crisp French Game Hen Thigh:
De-bone the game hen and break it down into breasts, legs and thighs. French-wing the bone on the breasts and brine them for 2 hours. Preheat an immersion circulator to 148ºC. Remove the thigh bone from the thigh meat. Remove the meat from drumsticks and reserve it for the croquette. Remove the skinny wing bone and reserve it for plating the croquette.

 Seal the thighs into a cryovac bag with a small amount of olive oil, garlic, and marjoram. Cook the thighs in the immersion circulator for 2 ½ hours. Crisp the thighs in a hot pan on the pickup. Remove the breasts from the brine and pat them dry. Roast the breasts, skin side down, for 7 minutes in the Dough Pro 525 stone oven.

For the Huckleberry Reduction:
First, make a game stock. Roast the game bones, cook them with the mirepoix, and juniper berries, and deglaze the roasting pan with the red wine. Cook au sec, and then add the dark chicken stock. Reduce to a demi-glace. Pass the reduction through a chinois and allow to completely cool. Seal the reduction in a cryovac bag with the huckleberries and steep in the bag for 3 hours to fortify the reduction. Break open the bag and pass the finished reduction sauce through a chinois.

For the Croquette:
Preheat a steam oven to 180ºF. Preheat a deep fryer to 375°F. Grind the reserved game hen leg meat with the shallots, and egg yolks through the fine die. Put the mixture in a Robot Coupe, and slowly and gently blend in the cream and pheasant or game hen glace until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Season it with the salt and pepper. Keep the mixture very cold, and pass it through a tamis. Fold in the sliced chives. Roll the mixture into snakes with parchment paper. Steam them in the steam oven for 8 minutes. Cut the resulting mousse rods into 1½-inch lengths and bread them with the toasted brioche crumbs. Fry the breaded croquettes in the deep fryer. Replace the bone to form a lollipop on pickup. 

For Brussels Sprout Purée:
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Blanch the Brussels sprouts in salted water. Shock them, drain them, and roast them for 4 minutes in the oven. Put the sprouts in a saucepot and cover them with the cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook until the Brussels sprouts are soft. Blend the mixture until it becomes smooth, then strain it through a tamis, and check the seasoning.

Butter-Poached Mushrooms:
Wash mushrooms well. Sauté them in butter and deglaze the pan with the Chardonnay vinegar.

To Assemble and Serve:
Plate a dollop of hot Brussels sprout purée off center, and smooth with a palette knife. Arrange the mushrooms and a few huckleberries around the plate. Plate a crisp thigh off-center. Plate a breast on the side of the thigh with the wing facing up. Plate the sauce organically. Serve the croquette on the side.