five-spice roasted guinea hens

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Servs: 8

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  • add   <B>For the sauce</B>
  • add   <B>For steamed broccoli rabe as an accompaniment:</B>
  • add   &nbsp;side of a large knife
  • add   4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • add   **available at some butcher shops
  • add   3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • add   1/2 cup water
  • add   1 cup dry white wine
  • add   2 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe (available at specialty produce markets and some supermarkets) or choi sum (Chinese flowering cabbage, available at Asian markets)<p>*available at Asian markets, specialty foods shops, and some supermarkets
  • add   2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
  • add   eight 1/4-inch-thick slices of fresh gingerroot, crushed lightly with the flat
  • add   2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • add   3 whole star anise*
  • add   the zest of 1 1/2 navel oranges, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
  • add   four 2 1/2-pound guinea hens,** rinsed and patted dry
  • add   3 tablespoons five-spice powder*

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl stir together the five-spice powder and 2 tablespoons of the oil, rub the mixture on the guinea hens, and season the hens with salt. In a large heavy skillet heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it brown the hens lightly, 1 at a time. Arrange the browned hens, breast side down, in 2 roasting pans and roast them in a preheated 350°F. oven, switching the pans from one rack to the other after 30 minutes, for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the fleshy part of the thigh registers 170°F. Transfer the hens to a cutting board and let them stand, covered loosely with foil, for 15 minutes.
  2. Make the sauce while the hens are standing:
  3. Skim the fat from the pan juices, divide the wine between the pans, and deglaze the pans over high heat, scraping up the brown bits. Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan, add the zest, the gingerroot, and the star anise, and boil the mixture until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Add the broth, the water, and the soy sauce and cook the mixture at a slow boil for 5 minutes. Stir the cornstarch mixture, stir it into the zest mixture, and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a saucepan and keep it warm.
  4. Carve the guinea hens, divide the broccoli rabe among 8 heated plates, and arrange the meat on it. Spoon some of the sauce over each serving and serve the remaining sauce separately.
  5. To make steamed broccoli rabe:
  6. Trim and discard any yellow or coarse leaves and the tough stem ends from the broccoli rabe and wash the broccoli rabe well in several changes of cold water. In a steamer set over boiling water steam the broccoli rabe, covered, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the stems are tender.

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