Juan Sanchez's Cornish Hen Tacos with Garden Vegetables
Recipe type: Poultry
Serves: 8
  • Salsa:
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 5 dried chiles de arbol
  • salt, to taste
  • Game Hens:
  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Garden Vegetables:
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 green onions; thinly sliced
  • 3 white boiling potatoes; sliced
  • water; as needed
  • 2 tomatoes; sliced
  • 2 Cups quelites or chard, loosely packed; see * Note
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Assembly:
  • 8 corn tortillas; warmed
  1. * Note: Quelites and papalo can be found in some Latino markets; or you can substitute chard (stems removed and sliced) for quelites and cilantro leaves for papalo. The flavor will be different but still delicious.
  2. For the Salsa: Roast tomatoes, garlic and chiles on griddle set over medium heat until lightly blackened, 10 to 12 minutes for tomatoes and garlic, 3 to 4 minutes for chiles. Puree tomatoes, garlic and chiles until smooth.
  3. Turn into small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. (Makes 1 cup)
  4. For the Game Hens: Season game hens with salt and pepper to taste. Grill over medium heat until done, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly, remove bones and cut meat into chunks.
  5. For the Garden Vegetables: Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until barely softened, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and just enough water to cover, about 1 cup. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are almost done, about 20 minutes. Add tomatoes and quelites, raise heat to medium, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. To Assemble: To make tacos, spoon Garden Vegetables onto tortillas followed by chunks of grilled Game Hen meat. Top with Salsa and papalo leaves and fold in half.
Juan Sanchez uses two grills in the courtyard of his South-Central bungalow. Bouquets of papalo and quelites, fresh from his garden, sit on a table ready for quick harvesting. Roosters crow and children circle eagerly.

This recipe yields 8 tacos.

Each taco: 207 calories; 233 mg sodium; 38 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 19 grams carbohydrates; 15 grams protein; 2.20 grams fiber.
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