Grilled Cornish Hens with Z'houg

Recipe adapted from Scott Snyder, Levant, Portland, OR

Grilled Cornish Hens with Z'houg
Grilled Cornish Hens with Z'houg

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

4

servings

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

4

servings

Ingredients

  • 2

    Cornish hens, halved (or 3 to 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, legs or breasts)

  • 1

    teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1

    teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 1/2

    teaspoon caraway seeds

  • 1 1/2

    packed cups chopped cilantro

  • 1 1/2

    packed cups chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 3 to 5

    serrano chiles (depending on how spicy you want your z'houg), stemmed and roughly chopped

  • 5

    medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped

  • 1/4

    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2

    teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2

    cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

1. In a large, airtight container or a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, set the Cornish hen halves (or chicken pieces). 2. To a small skillet set over medium-low heat, add the cumin, coriander and caraway seeds and toast until fragrant, shaking the pan often, about 1 minute. Transfer the spices to a medium plate, cool, then pulverize the seeds in a clean coffee or spice grinder. 3. To a food processor, add the ground spice mixture, the cilantro, parsley, serranos, garlic, black pepper and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Pulse until the mixture is coarse, about 10 one-second pulses. Slowly add the extra-virgin olive oil while pulsing the mixture until it forms a coarse paste, 15 to 20 one-second pulses. Transfer the z’houg to an airtight container. 4. Rub the hen halves with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, then rub them all over with ¼ cup of the z'houg total--about 1 tablespoon of the z'houg per hen half (save the rest of the z’houg for serving or for another time). Cover the container and refrigerate overnight. 5. Wrap a brick or the bottom of a heavy-bottomed saucepan or skillet with aluminum foil and set aside. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then add the hen halves to the pan, skin side down. Set the foil-wrapped brick or pot on top of the hens to weigh them down, then cook until the skin is nicely browned, about 25 minutes. Remove the weight and use a metal spatula to flip the hen halves over. Set the weight back on top of the hens and cook until the juices at the leg/thigh joint run clear, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Transfer the hens to a large platter and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving with more z'houg to taste.

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