Saturday, August 02, 2008

Whip It Up week 4: Whiskey Sours, Cornish Hens with Cornbread Stuffing, and Chocolate Sorbet

Three things! My hubby and I were planning to cook today anyway, and this is what we ended up with. However, I'm not sure if something he helped to make counts for the contest, but never fear: the Chocolate Sorbet was made completely by me, and is completely new to me.

Whiskey Sours I've also made before, trying a few different recipes and various combinations of store-bought mixes and fresh lemons. This is the first time I've used all fresh fruit, included limes as well as lemons, and thought ahead enough to make simple syrup in time to cool it down in the fridge.

Paul and I have made Cornish Hens before, but have never mad Cornbread Stuffing.

And as I said before, the Chocolate Sorbet is completely new!

All three recipes came from Barefoot Contessa At Home, which we got as a wedding gift in a cool basket of kitchen gadgets from our pastor's wife. I guess it was from both of them, but she obviously thought of it all.

So anyway, here we go:

Whiskey Sours (makes 4):
- 3/4 cup Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
- 2/3 cup simple syrup (2/3 c water + 2/3 cup sugar over low heat just until dissolved, then refrigerate)
- Maraschino cherries

Combine whiskey, juices, and syrup. Filla cocktail shaker halfway with ice and fill two-thirds with cocktail mix. Shake for 30 seconds and pour into glasses. Add a maraschino cherry and serve ice cold.

Notes: I used 3 lemons and 4 limes and got a total of 1 2/3 cups of juice, so it was lucky I had made more simple syrup. So be prepared. We also used Knob Creek bourbon, which is extra yummy. And finally, I prefer my whiskey sours on the rocks, so I skipped the shaker and just poured it all over ice in a tall glass. Yum.

Cornish Hens with Cornbread Stuffing (serves 6):
For the stuffing
- 1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 1/2 cup medium-diced celery (3 stalks)
- 3 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 5 cups (13 oz) coarsely crumbled cornbread (say that 5 times fast!)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
For the hens
- 6 fresh cornish hens (1.25-1.5 lbs)
- 2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 2 T unsalted butter, melted

Preheat over to 400 degrees.
For stuffing, melt butter in medium saute pan, add onion, and cook over medium-low heat for 8 minutes, until onion is translucent. Off the heat, add celery, parsley, cornbread, and chicken stock and mix well. Set aside.
For hens, rinse them inside and out, removing any pin feathers, and pat outsides dry. In a roasting pan that's just large enough to hold the hens loosely, first toss in the onions, then place hens on top, breast side up. Sprinkle the insides of the hens with salt and pepper and loosely fill the cavities with stuffing. (Bake leftover stuffing in a pan until heated through.) Tie the legs of each hen together and tuck wings under the bodies. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 50 to 60 minutes, until skin is browned and juices run clear when you cut between a let and thigh. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Serve a whole hen per person.

Notes: There's only 2 of us and we didn't have dinner guests, so we just made 2 hens. Since we like stuffing, we made the whole recipe and just baked the rest in a casserole dish - there's a lot left over! I made cornbread earlier in the day, using the recipe off the Quaker Yellow Cornmeal canister, which was super easy. A few other tweaks we made: we're ambivalent about parsley, and we have fresh sage growing in a box on our porch, so we scrapped the parsley and added 4 finely chopped sage leaves. We also both like some sausage (the breakfast kind that comes in a plastic tube so it's easy to crumble) in our regular stuffing, so since we were just using regular store-bought chicken broth and not home-made chicken stock (which would have much more fat), we cooked a little bit of sausage and added that. It was yummy, plus then there was some grease left in the pan, which we used to fry some of the remaining corn bread, and that was really delish.

Chocolate Sorbet (makes about 2 quarts, serves 6):
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup very good cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup brewed espresso (2 shots)
- 1 T coffee liqueur

In a large saucepan, mix sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in 4 cups water and espresso. Cook over low heat until ingredients are dissolved. Off heat, stir in coffee liquer. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until very cold.
Freeze mixture in 2 batches in an ince cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions. The sorbet will still be soft; place it back in the container and freeze for an hour or overnight, until firm enough to scoop.

Notes: I just used plain old Hershey's cocoa powder, and it was delicious, so no need to shell out a bundle for the expensive stuff from Williams-Sonoma like Ina tells you to. But what do I know, maybe if I tried the expensive stuff I'd never go back to plain old Hershey's. Ina also suggests buying a double-shot of espresso from Starbucks (can you say "product placement"??), but I made Turkish coffee, because I knew it would be very strong and I have the stuff to make it. If I didn't have any fresh Turkish-ground coffee on hand, I would have gone to the nearest coffee shop and gotten the espresso from them. Also, I counted the espresso as part of the water measure, because I felt like the recipe was calling for too much water, and no one wants runny sorbet. And finally, I didn't feel like messing around with 2 batches, so I halved the recipe.

Was the recipe easy to follow?
A resounding YES on all three counts - nothing tricky here!

Did it taste good?
Another resounding YES! The Whiskey Sours were a little too sour, and I had run out of simple syrup, but they were still delish. The Cornish Hens were great, and especially the Cornbread Stuffing. And the Chocolate Sorbet was to die for - there's no milk in it, if you didn't notice, so it's just pure chocolatey goodness in every bite! So yummy. It would make for a good Gelato sometime too, if I ever wanted to try making vanilla custard. Or I could just buy some.

Would you make it again?
Once more, yes for all three! Whiskey Sours are one of my fav drinks, plus I bet I could use the same recipe for Amaretto Sours. Next time I'll use fewer lemons & limes, and I'll use a higher ratio of simple syrup. The Cornish Hens were so delish that Paul and I were talking about making them for guests this fall before we'd even eaten them (we could tell they were going to be yummy, and they weren't that difficult to make for how nice they look!! So who wants to be our fall guests?). And the chocolate sorbet, well, who wouldn't make that again? Pure chocolate! Rich and concentrated! Frozen and spoonable! YUM!!

All in all, a successful evening, if I do say so myself. And I finally got a presentable picture of one of my recipe results - can you almost taste that chocolate sorbet?? I know you're jealous.


  1. I want you to make all of these recipes for me! The pictures on my sidebar change when I add new pictures but I think I also have them set to rotate. I haven't played with the code in a while.

  2. Wow, very impressive! We haven't made cornish hens in forever...