Dutch Oven Cornish Game Hens
(courtesy of Dennis Golden. Serves 4 to 6, one hen per person)
Dennis Golden uses his Dutch oven for camping, but also regularly makes wonderful meals with it in his backyard. Because charcoal briquettes are the heat source, a Dutch oven is convenient to use in either environment.
4 to 6 Cornish game hens
Garlic salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 to 2 each apples, onions, and stalks of celery (cut into small pieces to stuff in birds)
Fresh or frozen vegetables of your choice (i.e. small potatoes, yellow onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, etc.), cut into small pieces
¼ cup warm water
Corn syrup glaze (see recipe, below)
Corn Syrup Glaze
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup chicken broth (canned or reconstituted bouillon)
1/3 cup light corn syrup
Note: Start with frozen game hens. Let them thaw slowly in an insulated camp cooler. Best as a second or third night camp meal.
Prepare and light 30 to 40 charcoal briquettes.
While they are heating, wash and generously season game hens inside and out with garlic salt and pepper. Stuff with pieces of apple, onion, and celery. Place 4 stuffed hens on a wire rack (canning lid rings also will work) in a 12-inch Dutch oven (6 birds will fit in a 14-inch Dutch oven). Mix together corn syrup glaze ingredients and brush over birds. Add vegetables of choice around game hens. Pour in ¼ cup of warm water.
Place a single layer of about 15 hot coals on cooking surface. Place Dutch oven over coals and cook bottom for 20 to 25 minutes. Put 14 to 16 additional coals on lid and continue cooking 40 to 45 minutes. If hens are cooking too quickly (they will pop and hiss loudly) remove half of both top and bottom coals. If browning too much, remove top coals only.
Remove lid two to three times and baste hens with syrup glaze. When vegetables are soft, hens' juices run clear, and leg joints move easily, dinner is ready.