Mesa Grill Ancho-Rubbed Game Hen


  • 6 ancho chiles, dried
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • Ground salt and pepper
  • 2 rock Cornish game hen breasts, skinned and boned
  • 1 cup olive oil


Place the ancho chilies in a large bowl, cover them with the boiling water, and soak them for 30 minutes to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Drain the chiles well, then remove and discard the seed and stems. Place the chilies in a blender with the garlic, salt and cilantro. Pureé and set aside.

Combine the cornmeal, curry powder, cumin, salt and pepper and spread in a jellyroll pan. Spread the hen breasts generously and evenly with the chili puree, then dredge them in the seasoned cornmeal.

Place a large sauté pan or skillet over high heat, add the oil and heat until it begins to smoke. Add the hen breasts and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the topping is crisp. Turn the breasts, cook the other side until crisp, then transfer the breasts to the preheated oven to cook another 5 minutes, or until opaque throughout.

Makes 4

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