Recipe: Game Hens with Aromatic Sweet Potatoes and Prunes

Recipe courtesy of Simply Organic: A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonal, and Local Ingredients by Jesse Ziff Cool

Published by Chronicle Books

Game Hen with Aromatic Sweet Potatoes and Prunes

This aromatic dish is even better when served the next day. It is similar to tsimmis, a recipe from my childhood that my mom made on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The combination of the sweet potatoes and dried fruit symbolizes a wish for sweetness in the New Year, which somehow made this dish taste even better to me. Chicken, or even rabbit, would be a fine substitute for the game hen.

  • 11/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 small game hens
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 11/2 cups pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. In a large, deep roasting pan, toss the sweet potatoes and onion with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the turmeric, paprika, coriander, salt, and pepper.
  4. Rub the hens with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and generously sprinkle with the spice mixture. Place the hens on the sweet potatoes and roast for 30 minutes.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine the broth, brown sugar, cinnamon, prunes, chickpeas, cilantro, and saffron, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  6. Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the prune mixture over the potatoes, stirring to blend. Reduce the heat to 350F. Roast, stirring the potatoes occasionally, for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in a breast registers 170F and the juices run clear. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 servings

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