Thai-Curried Game Hens
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil divided
- 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste* more or less
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk*
- 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
- 2 cans straw mushrooms - (5.95 oz ea) drained
- 3 kaffir lime leaves (or 2 tspns grated lime peel)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce* (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
- 1 tablespoon golden brown sugar - (packed)
- 6 cherry tomatoes quartered
- 2 Cornish game hens - (1 1/3 lbs ea) thawed if frozen, halved lengthwise, backbones removed
- Fresh basil leaves
- 1 Small fresh or dried red chiles** (optional garnish)
* Sold in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets and at Asian markets.
** Use any type of small fresh or dried chiles you find in the produce section or spice section of the supermarket.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add curry paste and tomato paste and stir until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add coconut milk, broth, mushrooms, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, and brown sugar; bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Add cherry tomatoes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Sprinkle hens with salt and pepper. Add hens to skillet and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side.
Transfer hens to 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour sauce over. Bake uncovered until hens are cooked through, about 35 minutes.
Transfer hens to shallow serving bowl; tent with foil. Skim fat from sauce. Pour sauce into large skillet; boil 5 minutes. Pour sauce over hens. Garnish with basil and chiles, if desired.
This recipe yields 4 servings.
Goes Great With: Long-grain rice cooked with a few cardamom pods and grated lemon peel and sautéed spinach.
What To Drink: Spätlese Riesling or Oregon Pinot Noir.
Test-Kitchen Tip: Curry pastes vary in strength and spiciness from brand to brand, so start by using one teaspoon if you prefer a milder sauce.