Asian Grilled Game Hens with Vodka Celery Root Faro Stir Fry

  • Daily Herald Cook of the Week Challenge contestant Mike Ek of Bartlett has prepared Asian-grilled Cornish game hen with a side of vodka stir-fried farro.

      Daily Herald Cook of the Week Challenge contestant Mike Ek of Bartlett has prepared Asian-grilled Cornish game hen with a side of vodka stir-fried farro. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Posted10/12/2016 6:00 AM

Serves 2

2 Cornish Game Hens


¼ Cup peanuts

¼ Cup scallions, green part only


1/3 Cup soy sauce

3 Tbsps. olive oil

1 tsp red chili paste

2 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsps. fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp Chinese 5 spice


2 Tbsps. Hoisin sauce

3 Tbsps. Fig preserve

1/3 Cup soy sauce

2 Tbsps. Absolut vodka

1 Tbsps. olive oil

Pinch red pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic, minced.

The night before you intend to serve this meal: Cut along both sides of the backbone of each game hen, and discard. Turn the hen over and cut lengthwise through the breast splitting the hen into two halves. Repeat with the other hen. Rinse all four halves and pat dry. Place into a large zip lock plastic bag.

For the marinade, place all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until well blended. Pour into plastic bag, and seal removing as much air as possible. Seal and massage the bag to be sure that the marinade contacts all the flesh. Place in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, give the bag another quick massage.

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Day of meal: Heat grill using a two stage fire (fire on one side, only). Remove hens from the marinade and pat dry thoroughly. Any moisture on the hen will inhibited browning of the skin. Let sit out for 20 minutes.

While the grill heats up, put all glaze ingredients into a small sauce pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently until the glaze thickens. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

Slice scallion greens into small pieces, set aside. Place peanuts in a dry fry pan over a high heat and roast until peanuts darken, swirling pan twice. About 2 to 3 minutes. Place on cutting board and coarsely chop.

Grilling method: Once the grill is hot, oil the grill grates using a paper towel dip in vegetable oil. Place each hen half on the grill, flesh side down, over the direct heat. Once the skin is browned turnover. Brush the glaze over the flesh side of each half. Continue to grill until the flesh reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If the fire flares, or if the hen is starting to get too dark, move to the indirect side of grill.


Alternative cooking method: Place hens flesh side up on a rimmed backing sheet and place in the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven. Roast until the hen is almost fully cooked. Remove and brush on glaze. Return to oven under broiler until hens reach 165 degrees.

Serve: on individual plates or family style, garnish with scallion greens and chopped peanuts.

Vodka Celery Root Faro Stir Fry.

Serves four.

1 Cup faro

1 celery root

1 cup plus 1 Tbsps. Absolut vodka

2 tsp sugar (separated)

1 cup diced carrot, diced

1 cup peas

1 cup bamboo shoots

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

8 Scallions green and white sliced thinly.

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsps. fresh ginger grated.

1 Tbsps. Vegetable oil

3 Tbsps. soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil.

The night before, peel celery root and dice into ½ inch dice. In a bowl, add the vodka and 1 tsp sugar and mix to dissolve sugar. Add diced celery root, seal dish and place in refrigerator.

This next step can also be done the night before. Place a medium sized sauce pan, filed ½ with water over a medium high heat, bring to boil, add 1 tsp salt, and the faro. Simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and drain. If you doing this the night before, allow to cool and place in a seal dish and place in refrigerator.

The day of. Heat 1 Tbsps. oil in a wok or large heavy fry pan. Remove celery root from vodka, discard vodka. Pat dry celery root, and add to pan. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until celery root get some color. Add carrots to pan and continue to sauté for 3 minutes.

Add faro stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 Tbsp. vodka, red pepper flakes, remaining tsp sugar, garlic, scallions (reserve some greens for garnish) and ginger. Stir. Add bamboo shoots and peas. Stir.

Once all ingredients are heated through, and well incorporated, remove to serving dish. Garnish with reserved scallion greens.

Michael Ek

• The Cook of the Week Challenge contestants' recipes are published exactly as submitted to the judges for evaluation.

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