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Truffled Chicken / Truffled Cornish Game Hen

This recipe is a simple classic for fresh black truffles, known as Poulet Demi-Deuil, or Chicken in Half Mourning. This recipe is usually prepared with chicken, however, we prefer the taste of Cornish game hen. Black truffles are best when cooked with some form of fat, so if the skin is very lean, baste the breasts with butter a few times during the cooking process. If you are using chicken, you will probably need to double or triple the recipe, since the chicken will be much larger.

Serves 2

Ingredients

• 1 cornish game hen (or double the recipe for chicken)

• 1 oz fresh Perigord black truffle, wiped clean and sliced thin

• Salt and pepper

• 1 1/2 tablespoons butter

• 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced in half

• 1 tablespoon Madeira

• 1 teaspoon cognac

Instructions

Use your fingers to gently pull the skin from the breast, legs, and thighs of the Cornish game hen without tearing the skin. Slip the truffle slices under the skin, covering the breast and legs completely. Shake a small amount of salt and pepper inside the game hen before trussing it tightly with kitchen string. Wrap the hen in plastic and refrigerate overnight to allow the truffles to flavor the meat.

Rub ½ tablespoon butter on the outside of the bird, then cover with salt and pepper. Rub the cut side of the garlic and then the remaining butter on the inside a small casserole just large enough to hold the bird (casserole should have a lid). Place the hen in the casserole and add the Madeira and cognac. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.  Keep the breast moist, adding butter if necessary.

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