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My family calls games hens “Bak-baks.” Any family crazy enough to nickname poultry is crazy enough to cook with kumquats. We have our own kumquat tree, so the hunting and gathering is kept to a minimum. I've served this for Thanksgiving instead of roast turkey - a very nice change!
- 2 large rock cornish game hens
- chicken giblets, from rock cornish game hen (optional)
- 50 kumquats (about)
- 1 bunch fresh tarragon
- 6 large garlic cloves
- 1⁄4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons sifted flour
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
- 1 (10 ounce) can chicken broth
- 1⁄2 cup water
- Preheat oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit.
- Remove tarragon leaves from the stems; place aside. Wash and dry kumquats; slice in half and remove all seeds; place aside. Crush, dice, or press the garlic cloves; place aside. Rinse game hens with cold water and pat dry.
- Separate the skin from the game hen’s breast. Push in the tarragon leaves and crushed garlic under the skin; the skin protects the leaves and garlic from burning. Place tarragon stems inside the hen’s cavity, along with about 35-40 seeded kumquats.
- Place game hens on a raised rack in a roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan to prevent the juices from burning. Cook for about one and ½ hours at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Baste frequently and replenish the water in the pan as needed.
- Optional: Place giblets in a saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium heat until done, about 1 hour. Remove and allow to cool. Chop and set aside.
- Coarsely chop the remaining 10 to 15 kumquats. In a sauce pan, combine the orange juice, sugar, and kumquats. Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir frequently and cook until done, about 30 to 45 minutes. Set aside.
- Remove the game hens from the oven after 90 minutes or when golden brown and done. Transfer the game hens to a serving platter. Remove and discard the tarragon stems. Reserve the cooked kumquats and decoratively place around the hens.
- Deglaze the roasting pan and transfer the drippings to a saucepan. Carefully add the flour to make a roué. Add chicken broth and cook over medium heat until the gravy is thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add giblets (optional).
- Combine the orange liqueur with orange juice/kumquat sauce and add to gravy. Simmer another 5 minutes. Transfer to gravy boat.
- Carve game hens and serve each portion with gravy and kumquats.