Book Review: She Smoke
A Backyard Barbecue Book
Julie Reinhardt, Co-owner of Smokin' Pete's BBQ, a Seattle joint.
A couple of posts back, I mentioned that I was reading She-Smoke by Julie Reinhardt. This is a great, cheap ($16.95), educational and fun little book. Julie provides a great introduction to barbecue and grilling for beginners, but adds enough expertise to intrigue the expert.
Ms. Reinhardt goes over just about every type of grill and smoker available on the US market and she provides detailed instructions on how to use them. There are recipes galore from Tuscan Grilled and Smoked Turkey Legs to Burnt Ends to Not Your Mama's Smoked Meatloaf to Smoked Cheese to Polenta Stuffed Cornish Game Hen and Mushroom Gravy.
I recommend this book highly. One caveat, this book is written with women as its target audience and that becomes a tad annoying in the narrative. I get it Julie. Women can cook barbecue.
But I was destined to enjoy this book. It just happened that the supermarket had Cornish game hens on sale for 99 cents a pound and I picked up a roll of polenta on our last trip. These are not on our usual shopping list, but I was/am in the mood to change up some of our standard meals.
When we got home that night and unpacked the groceries, sat down and picked up She-Smoke and the first recipe it opened to was for Polenta Stuffed Cornish Game Hens and Mushroom Gravy. Was someone trying to tell me something? So the next day Polenta Stuffed Cornish Game Hens were on the menu!
Here's Julie's Recipe...
Smoked Cornish Game Hen with Polenta Stuffing and Mushroom Gravy
Cooking Method: Indirect-Medium
- 4 Cornish game hens (1 per person)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh savory
- 1 cup milk, 1 cup chicken stock or broth, 1 cup polenta, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon chopped savory (may also substitute sage or rosemary)
- 2 cups chicken stock, heated, 16 medium mushrooms, sliced, 6 tablespoons butter divided, 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preferred Wood: Maple or pecan
Step by Step:
- Make the polenta stuffing: Bring milk and chicken stock to a low boil and slowly add the polenta while stirring. Stir and cook for 20 minutes. Add salt and savory. Take off heat and put aside.
- Rinse hens thoroughly and pat dry. Rub olive oil, salt, pepper and savoy on outside and inside cavity. Spoon in approximately 1 cup of polenta per bird. Set aside while you make you fire.
- Make fire for indirect medium heat and "get your smoke on." Place hens breast side down directly on grill and close lid. Leave them for 40 minutes.
- Make mushroom gravy: While the hens are cooking, heat 2 cups of chicken stock on low heat in a separate pan. on medium-high heat, saute mushrooms in 4 tablespoons butter until brown. Add flour and stir. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly so as not to burn. Stir in 2 tablespoons additional butter, Slowly pour heated chicken stock while stirring. Reduce the gravy while stirring until it thickens.
- When the hens are cooked, remove hens and rest meat for 15 minutes before serving.