If you've been following me at all over the past few weeks, you'll know that I've been a little gingerbread-mad - as in I've made half a dozen different kinds of gingerbread cookies, including Speculaas, Gingernuts, and Ontbijtkoek; I've also made gingerbread cake three times in a month! But that recipe hasn't posted yet. Soon, I promise.
So, when Sue of Palatable Pastime, announced the theme of this month's #BakingBloggers, I knew I had to join in. She wrote: "The topic of the month for December will be baking gingerbread - anything gingerbread goes, as long as some part of it is baked. Gingerbread houses, gingerbread cookies, gingersnaps, gingerbread, sauerbraten (with gingersnap gravy), gingerbread flavored "this and that"...let your creativity soar!"
The #BakingBloggers' Offerings
- Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Glaze by Sneha's Recipe
- Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake by Sid's Sea Palm Cooking
- Gingerbread Madeleines by Caroline's Cooking
- Gingerbread Men by Cook with Renu
- Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies by Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Gingerbread Cookies by Simply Inspired Meals
- Louisiana Syrup Cake (Cajun Gingerbread) by Palatable Pastime
- Russian Pryanik Gingerbread by Pandemonium Noshery
- Orange Cranberry Gingerbread by Food Lust People Love
- Piernik by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Poussins aux Pain d'Epices by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Poussins aux Pain d'Epices
I started doing research about gingerbread used in a savory way. The French had two ways that kept popping up: with fois gras and with pigeon. Hmmmm.... Okay, you'll see the former combination soon. But, I decided to adapt the latter for my purposes and substituted Cornish game hens for pigeon. Though I have sourced some pretty interesting ingredients, I don't think I've ever laid eyes on pigeon meat. Thoughts?!?
So, I decided to create Poussins aux Pain d'Epices, hens with gingerbread, and I made a stuffing with chestnuts, gingerbread spices, and gingerbread crumbles and seasoned the hens with traditional gingerbread spices. My boys quipped, "Is this a Thanksgiving dinner for hobbits?" Nope. Just eat it.
Ingredients serves 3 or 4
- 1/2 C celery, chopped
- 1/2 C carrots, chopped
- 1/2 C fennel, chopped
- 2 C whole roasted chestnuts, peeled
- 2 T butter + 1 stick butter
- 1 t fresh thyme
- 4 to 5 C cubed bread
- 1/2 C gingerbread crumbles
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground butter
- 3 cornish game hens
- 1/2 C sweet white wine (I used a local Muscat wine)
- 1/2 C dry white wine (I used a local Sauvignon Blanc)
- 3 t softened butter
- 3 lemons, halved (for stuffing the birds, you can use apples, onions or anything else that will fill the cavity)
- 3 t ground ginger
- 3 t ground cinnamon
- 1-1/2 t ground cardamom
- 1 t ground nutmeg
- 1 t ground allspice
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Also needed: three 9" length of 100% cotton twine, roasting pan
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove giblets from the cornish game hens and stuff them with lemon halves. Use the twine to truss the hens. Place them a roasting pan.
Mix all of the spices together. Rub 1 t butter into the skin of each bird. Spoon the spice mixture over the top and spread it over the surface with a spoon. Add a few grinds of salt and pepper over the birds, then pour the wine over the hens. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 90 minutes. Every 20 minutes or so remove the pan from the oven and baste with the cooking juices.
After 90 minutes in the oven, remove the hens from the oven and let them rest for 15 minutes before serving. While the hens are roasting, make the gingerbread stuffing.
Melt 2 T butter in a pan and add the fennel, carrots, and celery. Cook until the carrots are fork tender. Stir in the fresh thyme. Add the chestnuts and cook for 5 minutes. Place the stick of butter in the pan and heat until completely melted. Mash the chestnuts lightly and add in the bread cubes and the gingerbread crumbles. Toss the bread to coat completely with butter and keep stirring until the bread is softened and the stuffing begins to come together into a ball. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with the roasted hens.