While working at Nobu London, chef Thomas Buckley used cabbage as a stuffing for this popular preparation of Cornish hen. Later, after taking the position of executive chef at Nobu Miami, he was inspired by the city’s abundant Latin American culinary influences to create a new version that uses wild rice in a risotto made with onion, garlic, and green peppers.
The trick is not to hurry, Buckley writes in Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook (Kodansha), co-written with Nobu’s founder, Nobu Matsuhisa. “How very Latin!” Slow cooking draws out the sweetness of the vegetables. And “you won’t believe how well the crispy poussin skin goes” with the “mellow wild rice.”
Recipe of the week
Roasted Poussin With Wasabi Sauce
Dashi stock can be purchased at specialty grocery stores.
4 tbsp wasabi powder
31⁄3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp unsalted butter
1⁄2 tsp roughly ground black pepper
11⁄2 cups wild rice
3 cups water
1⁄4 small green bell pepper, minced
1⁄8 medium yellow onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup dashi stock, or more
1 whole Cornish hen (poussin), boned
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pure olive oil
2 tsp preserved capers, chopped
6 to 8 tender inner leaves of Savoy cabbage
Make wasabi sauce: Mix wasabi powder in equal amount of water to form smooth paste. Cover; allow to stand for 12 minutes to develop its fiery flavor. Add soy sauces; mix well; transfer to small saucepan. Place pan over low heat to gently cook. Add butter and pepper; stir. Sauce should be runny. If sauce is too thick, add some dashi or water to adjust consistency.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place wild rice and water in saucepan; cover; bring to simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes until almost done (it will be finished later). Place bell pepper, onion, garlic, olive oil in frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook, without browning, until soft. Combine with cooked rice in pot; add dashi stock. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Lightly rinse hen and blot dry, including inside body cavity. Season inside of hen with salt and pepper. Carefully line cavity with cabbage, then stuff with wild rice mixture. Place skewer through back legs and front wings to hold in place. Place on sheet tray over roasting rack; rub hen all over with olive oil, salt, pepper. Roast hen in oven for 15 to 20 minutes total. During roasting, rotate hen if needed. Remove from oven. Skin should be quite crispy and rice filling hot. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Cut hen in half, arrange on platter. Mix wasabi sauce with capers and serve on side.
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