Recipe: Celebrate spring with game hens |

Recipe: Celebrate spring with game hens

Angela Bullentini Wolf

Saffron butter-baked game hens with heirloom carrots, butternut squash, and apples.

Recipe by Howard Jachens, Executive Chef at Gather

Spring is officially here, but winter is holding on tight this year. Chef Howard planned to bring you a delicious rhubarb sauce recipe this month, but since we had a late winter, we also have a late spring harvest. Therefore, no rhubarb (yet) and Chef Howard’s plans were foiled. But that’s how the garden grows in Northern Nevada! Instead, our recipe this month will highlight the gorgeous spring flavors of North Africa.

Cornish game hens make for a beautifully simple meal when paired with roasted spring root vegetables and served with a side salad of cucumber seasoned with dill, mint and rose petals. This combination makes for a refreshing and easy dinner to celebrate the season.

Saffron Butter-Baked Game Hens With Heirloom Carrots, Butternut Squash and Apples

Serves 4

4 Cornish Game Hens

4 small baking apples, halved and cored (optional: substitute pears for apples) 3 shallots, halved lengthwise

3 heirloom carrots, rough cut (optional: add 3 parsnips, peeled)

1 small butternut squash, rough cut with outer skin removed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon ground saffron

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Optional: Pomegranate seeds

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and mix with ground saffron and cardamom. Pour melted saffron/cardamom butter and olive oil into a large mixing bowl and combine together. Then add the hens, vegetables and apples. Place all ingredients in a roasting pan and bake in a 375-degree oven for 1 hour 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the hens reaches 165 degrees and the juices run clear. Keep an eye on the apple/vegetable mixture and stir if getting too dark. If using, sprinkle cooked game hens and roasted apples/veggies with pomegranate seeds and serve.

Cucumber Salad

2 cups greek yogurt

4 Persian cucumbers, diced 1/2 cup chopped dill

1 small shallot

1/4 teaspoon cardamom (or to taste)

Fresh mint

Dried rose petals (available at any health food or herb store) Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large clean mixing bowl and toss together. Chill and place in serving bowl with a garnish of fresh mint and rose petals.


Angela Bullentini Wolf is owner/manager of Gather, a farm-to-table, fine casual restaurant located at 402 N. Carson St. in downtown Carson City.