Black garlic has become one of the hottest new “must-have” ingredients in the chef’s pantry. The unique qualities of black garlic are the result when whole garlic heads are fermented under heat for several months. The flavor of black garlic can be difficult to describe – slightly sweet, with subtle hints of licorice and fennel, with subdued, but distinctive, true garlic flavor intact. It’s chewy-gooey texture is reminiscent of sun-dried tomatoes or cured olives.
We like black garlic so much that we can’t help but keep coming up with new ways to use it. Black garlic’s subtly sweet and complex flavor goes beautifully with the fruity tang of pomegranate molasses and roasted root vegetables in this new recipe. After a little experimentation, we came up with this variation on a classic roasted game hen that is succulent and amazingly delicious. While you’re at it, make up a little extra of the black garlic butter described in the recipe. It’s great on just about everything – toasted baguette rounds, baked potatoes or simply dolloped onto grilled steaks, chicken breasts, fish or vegetables.
- ½ cup Pomegranate Molasses
- Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
- 2 Cornish game hens, rinsed & patted dry
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 10 cloves black garlic, peeled
- 4 Tbsp butter, softened
- 3 carrots, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2 parsnips, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
- ½ large rutabaga, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2 small to medium turnips, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 6 golden boiling onions, peeled, halved
- 4 -6 fingerling potatoes, cut into chunks
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- Juice of 1 lemon, about 1-2 Tbsp, rind reserved
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Stir together the pomegranate molasses and salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Blend the black garlic and softened butter in a food processor or using a fork. Gently slip your fingers under the skin of the hens to loosen it, making sure to leave the skin attached in the middle of the breast. Do the same on the legs and thighs as well.
Work the black garlic butter up under the skin, making sure to get it into all the nooks. Massage the outside of the hen to distribute the butter evenly. Salt and pepper the interior of the hens. If any black garlic butter is left, slather it inside the hens and put one lemon rind half from juicing into each cavity.
Tie the hen legs together with kitchen twine and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, toss all the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the vegetables around and between the hens on the baking sheet.
Slip the hens & vegetables into the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Brush the hens with the pomegranate molasses mixture. Return them to the oven and continue roasting, basting twice more, approximately every 15 minutes, for total of 30 minutes additional cooking time. Rotate the baking sheet each time you baste the hens for even browning.
The hens are done when juices run clear when pierced at the thigh or when an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F. Remove the hens from the oven and let them rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the vegetables with the lemon juice. Carve the hens or serve whole, with the vegetables.
Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, and other recipes on the Earthy Delights Blog, can be purchased online at our retail website, Earthy.com. We welcome you to visit the Earthy.com website to view our extensive selection of hard-to-find ingredients and our complete Recipe Collection of over 500 tested recipes.
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