Tag Archives: Grapes

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta #SundaySupper

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Libational Recipes, a fun one indeed. Who doesn’t love cooking with an alcoholic beverage of some sort? I certainly do.

So in choosing which recipe to feature today, I wanted to keep with the December-appropriate theme I’m doing all month long, so today I’m posting a dish appropriate for a small but elegant Christmas dinner gathering, or perhaps a small holiday dinner party. Game hens are so adorable, and I think it looks so lovely and fancy to give everyone their own little baby chicken on their plate.

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Then the adorable game hens swim in this velvety, luscious, rich red wine sauce with savory sausage and sweet red grapes for the whole sweet-salty yin-yang thing we all love. All atop a mound of creamy, cheesy polenta. It’s really a beautiful dish. One I hope you all enjoy!

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Source: slightly adapted from Tyler’s Ultimate by Tyler Florence

{One Year Ago: Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Cream Cheese Glaze}


4 (1-1 ½ lb.) Cornish game hens
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

Olive oil
½ lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups halved red seedless grapes
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

5 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups instant polenta
¼ cup heavy cream
1 ½ tbs unsalted butter
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Season the outside and cavities of the game hens with salt and pepper. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs together, then tie the wings flat against the body. Dot the butter all over the game hens, then carefully transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Roast about 45 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of one breast registers 165 F.
Start the sauce as soon as you get the birds into the oven. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then crumble in the sausage. Cook until no traces of pink remain. Dust the flour over the sausage and stir to combine. Add the wine and stir quickly to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Then stir in the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and keep it at a simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is thick and velvety. Add in the grapes right before you’re ready to serve. If the grapes make the sauce too thin, boil it on high heat, stirring frequently, for a few minutes to thicken it up.
Make the polenta: bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large stockpot. Sprinkle in the polenta and whisk quickly to combine and make sure there are no lumps. It will thicken up in minutes. As soon as it thickens, turn the heat to low. Add in the cream, butter, cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, cut the strings off the game hens. Mound a few spoonfuls of polenta onto 4 dinner plates. Rest a bird on top of each, then generously spoon the sauce over the birds. Garnish with parsley if desired.


Savory and Sweet Libational Dishes

Libational Desserts

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Custard Tart with Wine-Poached Grapes

Custard Tart with Wine Poached Grapes

I’ve made it a point to not watch the news. Somewhere in early adulthood, I figured out how sensationalist and depressing those news programs are meant to be, and I just don’t need that. I have enormous respect for serious, ethical investigative journalism, just not exaggerated, dumbed-down shows where it leads if it bleeds.

custard tart before baking

wine poached grapes

But, it’s not like I’m an ostrich living in a barn. I do keep up. So this recent government shutdown is certainly not lost on me, and in many ways it underscores why I don’t watch news programs. It’s just sad and depressing to find out our Congress is run by a bunch of kindergartners. To any of you who are furloughed, or have a spouse or family member affected, my heart goes out to you. Be sure to check out my friend Dina’s post on how this shutdown will affect our food, it’s a great post with informative links.

ready to assemble tart

custard tart with wine poached grapes

In light of this head-shaking, nonsensical news we are all absorbing, I thought a post about pretty, happy, and boozy dessert was in order. I bought myself an oblong tart pan with recent birthday money; I’ve wanted one for a long time, I just think they are so cool and make a tart look so stunning.

Custard Tart with Wine Poached Grapes

This was my first use of it. A no-rolling-pin-needed, from-scratch tart shell, filled with smooth, luscious, spiked custard, baked off and then topped with fruity red grapes you have poached in a sweet wine mixture. It’s kind of amazing. The texture is just so fantastic. And if you don’t have an oblong tart, I’m sure you could easily adapt this to a round 9” tart pan. Enjoy!

custard tart with wine poached grapes

custard tart with wine poached grapes

{One year ago: Hot and Sour Soup}

Source: adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Oct/Nov 2009

7 tbs chilled, unsalted butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
1 large egg yolk, chilled

2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
3 tbs fresh lime juice
3 tbs dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc
½ cup heavy cream

½ cup dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc
2 tbs honey
2 tbs granulated sugar
1 tbs fresh lime juice
33 seedless red grapes, plus a few more for snacking if you please

First, make the TART SHELL. Spray your tart shell with cooking spray or grease it with butter. Set aside.
Combine the flour, almonds, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Process until the almonds are finely ground, about 40 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 seconds. Add the egg yolk and process until moist clumps form. With lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared tart pan. Place in the refrigerator until very chilled, at least 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven, place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven, and preheat oven to 375 F. Bake the crust on the heated baking sheet until light golden on the bottom and golden brown on the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
Make the CUSTARD FILLING. In a small to medium, heavy saucepot, whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar, lime juice, salt, and white wine until blended. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking almost continuously, until the mixture boils and thickens, about 3 minutes. Do not walk away during this step, the mixture will go from thin and liquid-y to perfect in the blink of an eye. Transfer the filling to a medium bowl and let cool until warm.
Whisk the heavy cream into the filling and pour the mixture into the cooked and cooled tart shell. Bake at 375 F until the filling begins to slightly puff and slightly bubble at the edges, about 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge if not using immediately.
Make the GRAPES TOPPING. In a medium heavy saucepan, boil the wine, honey, sugar, and lime juice over medium heat about 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly reduced. Reduce the heat to low, add the grapes, and poach gently until softened a little, about 3 minutes. Remove to a dinner plate with a slotted spoon. Continue to boil the poaching liquid until reduced and syrupy, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Shut off the heat.
To assemble the tart, line the tart with the grapes in rows of 3 all across. Lightly press the grapes into the custard. Gently brush the glaze over the grapes. Store in the refrigerator if not serving immediately.