Sorry, no canapés here tonight.
Oh Julia is wearing me out! I made something tonight with an ingredient I use pretty much every week – Cornish game hens. Easy peasy, throw it in the oven with some olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper. So I thought I had this one in the bag.
First of all, I missed seeing ALL of the directions. Just as well. I didn’t have the ingredients for the canapés, but it was something I just didn’t have the time to fuss with, and the livers from my two (yeah not three) Cornish game hens looked pretty small and weak.
But I did everything else – yay! Um wait, no. I did not baste these birds every five or six minutes turning them on their sides. I had to walk the dogs (no husband this week). So I turned them on their sides for 15 minutes each for a total of 30 minutes, and then let them cook sitting up straight like I’m used to for the last 30 minutes. My Cornish game hens I purchase are like a small chicken – clearly not what Julia used, and I always cook for about a hour.
I did make the base sauce and yes, clipped those wing joints except for one. Was just over that at that point. The sauce is so beautifully rich thanks to the hunk of butter that was whisked in.
So – here it is!
Julia’s recipe is as follows:
Pigeonneaux Sur Canapés
(from The French Chef Cookbook by Julia Child; Show 53
- 3 young squabs or other tender small birds (I used Cornish game hens, almost 2 pounds each)
- salt and pepper
- 1½ tablespoons minced shallot
- ¾ teaspoon tarragon (I used a thyme sprig for each)
- 3 tablespoons softened butter
- 3 or more strips of thick-sliced bacon simmered for 10 minutes in 1 quart water
- 1/3 cup each sliced carrots and onions
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse birds and pat dry thoroughly.
- Chop the birds’ wings off at the elbows; reserve all trimmings and giblets. Sprinkle salt, pepper, ½ tablespoon shallots, and ¼ teaspoon tarragon (I used a thyme sprig instead) into the cavity of each bird along with a ½ tablespoon butter in each.
- Rub skin with softened butter, place bacon slices over the breast and thighs of the birds, and truss for roasting. Lay birds on their sides in the roasting pan and on top of the carrots and onions that have been drizzled with a bit of olive oil.
- Baste hens with a mixture of 2 tablespoons melted butter combined with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.
Meanwhile, make the base sauce:
- necks, gizzards, hearts, and wing tips from birds
- 2 tablespoons each of chopped carrots and onions
- 2 tablespoons high-quality cooking oil
- 1½ cups beef bouillon or brown chicken stock
- In a heavy saucepan, add the oil and gently brown the ingredients. Add the bouillon or stock; bring to a boil and turn down the heat and let simmer for at least 30 minutes. Strain sauce and reserve.
Skim all but a tablespoon of fat from the roasting pan, pour into the sauce base and add ¼ cup Madeira or port. Boil down rapidly, scraping up coagulated roasting juices, until liquid has reduced to about ½ cup. Correct seasoning, remove fro heat, and swirl in butter.
Serves 6 people if splitting birds in half as Julia’s recipe has recommended.