Blackberry Cornish Game Hens with Zinfandel
As an alternative to turkey, try these sweet and savory Blackberry Cornish Game Hens. This matches perfectly with a Zinfandel such as the Frog’s Leap 2005 Zinfandel, which is enhanced by the combination of 75% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane and 3% Napa Gamay.
- 4 organically grown Cornish game hens (such as Delaware Chicken Farm & Seafood Market at http://www.delawarechicken.com
- 2 cups blackberries (Marion berries or other berry favorites)
- ½ cup organic Zinfandel
- ¼ cup organically grown and made olive oil (such as Long Meadow Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil—Napa Valley Select at http://www.longmeadowranch.com )
- 1 teaspoon organically grown Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoon organically made blackberry jam (such as Wild Organic Blackberry Jam from Bienmanger at http://www.bienmanger.com)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped finely
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1-teaspoon fresh crack black pepper
Prepare the game hens by cutting them open through the breastbone with kitchen shears and flattening them skin side up by pressing firmly to crack the bones. Remove backbone by cutting it out.
Assemble the marinade in a large zip closure plastic bag. Mix wine, oil, mustard, jam, thyme, salt and pepper. Place the berries in a food processor or blender and puree. Pass through a sieve or strainer to remove seeds. Add the berries to the bag and close it. Push contents around to mix well. Now add the birds. Divide between two bags if one is not sufficient. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.
Place the birds in a roasting pan skin side up. Put the marinade in a bowl and reserve for basting birds. Roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 45-55 minutes. Brush the birds with the marinade every 15 minutes. You will know the birds are done when the thing meat is no longer pink. Serve with organically grown wild rice!
Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup with Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 organically grown onion, finely diced
- 3 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh gingerroot
- 2 tablespoons organic butter
- 2 tablespoons organic olive oil
- 2 cups organically grown butternut squash peeled and cut into small chunks
- 3 cups organic chicken broth
- 2 cups organic apple cider
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons organically grown limejuice (optional lower calorie version)
- ½ cup organic half and half (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt (your favorite freshly ground)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper (white would be preferable)
- Freshly grated nutmeg (don’t skimp on this one—buy the whole nut, crack it open andgrate it! There’s nothing like it.)
In a soup pot sauté the onion and gingerroot in the butter and oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened and opaque in color. Add the squash, chicken broth and apple cider. Bring mixture to a boil, and then turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the squash is very tender. Stir in the garlic and cook a few more minutes.
Puree the mixture in a food processor or a blender. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your machine. Return the soup to the pot. For a lower calorie version and absolutely delicious add the limejuice, salt and pepper to taste and then stir in the grated nutmeg or for a creamier version add the ½ cup of half and half and the salt and pepper taste and then grate the fresh nutmeg over the top.
Susan Bishop is a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef for wineries in the Napa Valley and Sonoma. She is a wine educator and specializes in food and wine pairing.