One time I tried to make Mummy’s Cornish hen recipe, but like I fool I bought a fruit compote instead of fruit jelly! So it didn’t turn into a glaze at all. It sat clumpy on the hens and didn’t even really melt. Also, at that point in my life I didn’t have a roasting pan, so I just sat the hens into a corningware. Little did I know that keeping the bottom flat against the dish caused it to steam rather than roast, and nothing crisped up at all. So Cornish Hens are my Everst of food and tonight I think I peaked!
It began as usual with a trip to Farm Boy. And what did I see in the produce aisle but PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS FRUIT. This is huge, y’all. I instantly remembered a childhood field trip back when we lived in Arizona. The school took us to a state park and taught us survival skills for the desert and whatnot, and apparently survival skill number one is learning about the cactus fruit and how to eat it. That day, we all got to taste it and drink prickly pear juice. I haven’t taste it since. That was about eighteen years ago. So naturally today I had to buy them!
Next up I saw habanero peppers, which are scary but also awesome (not unlike a majestic Great White). Originally I was thinking that this was the makings for a perfect pork tenderloin glaze (or even some sort of savoury donut, hmm?!) But
|Glaze thickening away|
I also bought a jar of red pepper jelly to act as the base of the glaze, because the fruit and peppers don’t have enough sugar to thicken on their own, obvi. So, you should definitely follow the roasting instructions from the previous hen post, but if you’re feeling spicy, here’s how to habanero glaze it up:
Start by melting the jar of red pepper jelly over medium heat. I also added some honey because Mummy does. Next, slice up your habanero peppers but beware. These are the hottest of the hot. I tasted a tiny sliver on its own just to see, and my mouth ignited. So what I did was slice up the peppers but remove most of the seeds (where the real heat is) so that it was a more mild heat from the flesh itself. I think I used only about three peppers, and it was plenty spicy.
Next, work with your prickly pears. Slice off the two ends and then cut it in half lengthwise. You will see a very distinct skin and fruit inside. Peel the skin off. It is very easy. Now, the seeds are edible so you can pretty much eat the fruit right away at this stage. If that’s intimidating, puree and strain the fruit to have a jazzy juice for cocktails and such. For the glaze, just chop them into small chunks and throw them into the jelly.
I also added a bit of balsamic vinegar more for a nice colour than anything else. Baste your hens every ten or fifteen minutes, and you’ll be good to go! Drizzle the rest of the glaze over the hens before serving, but do not pour the slices of habanero pepper over the hens or you’ll run everyone out of town. Discard them like a dirty bay leaf and enjoy your taste of the southwest!