Braised Game Hens with Irish Whiskey Sauce

JWU College of Culinary Arts

Minimum internal temperature 165°F

10 servings

Serving Size
½ each

Recipe ID

US standard
Game hens
5 each
Salt, kosher
To taste
Black pepper, ground
To taste
Vegetable oil
As needed
Carrots, washed, peeled and diced brunoise
8 ounces
Celery stalks, washed, trimmed and diced brunoise
8 ounces
Onions, peeled and diced brunoise
8 ounces
Marjoram, dried
1 teaspoon
Basil, dried
1 teaspoon
Sweet paprika
1 teaspoon
Orange, zest and juice
1 each
Brown chicken stock, heated to a boil
2 quarts
2 ounces
Irish whiskey
8 ounces
6 each
Butter, cut into small pieces
6 ounces
  1. Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC).
  3. Season game hens inside out with salt and pepper, and truss.
  4. In a braising pan, heat the oil, and sear the game hens on all sides until golden brown. Remove the birds and set aside.
  5. Add the mirepoix to the pan, and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
  6. Add the spices, orange zest and juice, and stock. Heat the liquid to a boil, and return the game hens to the pan. Cover tightly, and place in the oven. Braise until the meat is fork-tender and 165ºF (74ºC) or higher.
  7. Remove the game hens from the braising pan, and hold covered at 135ºF (57ºC) or higher for 15 minutes. Place the braising pan over high heat, and reduce the liquid to 16 ounces.
  8. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the honey and Irish whiskey. Heat until the honey thins out. Add the cloves. Strain the reduced cooking liquid into the honey mixture and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce coats the back of the spoon, and the desired flavor is achieved. Remove from the heat and take the cloves out.
  9. Slowly whisk in the butter and hold at 135ºF (57ºC) or higher.
  10. Cut the game hens in half, remove the back bone, and serve immediately napped with Irish whiskey sauce.
  11. Serve immediately, or hold at 135ºF (57ºC) or higher.