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Main dishes for Easter

Cathie Campbell/For The Madera Tribune

Try some grilled chicken or Cornish game hens at your Easter table, along with the baked ham.


This year, my family plans to serve a traditional ham, but we will also be enjoying some grilled marinated Cornish game hens. It is fun to provide the foods people have come to expect, and at the same time present something a bit different.

There seems to be an excitement in the air, what with many people tiring of rain and cold weather. We all appreciate the rain and snow we’ve had so far, especially after such a terrible period of drought, but even though we are grateful, it is still rather nice to anticipate a change of seasons.

I hope you are faring better than I am in regard to spring allergies. I was just starting to get over a really nasty cold when allergies struck. Stay healthy, stay safe, and may you enjoy planning your family Easter event.

Grilled marinated Cornish game hens

This is sort of a non-recipe I put together. The main ingredients should be extra-virgin olive oil and white wine, but feel free to use your own judgment as to how much to use. Count on half a hen for each person.

1 Cornish game hen, thawed, rinsed and split in half lengthwise Extra virgin olive oil White wine (any type) Chopped fresh garlic or crushed garlic from a jar Chopped fresh rosemary Chopped fresh parsley (flat-leaf or curly) Carl’s Prime Rib & Roast Seasoning McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning Cajun or Creole spice Dash of soy sauce

  1. Pat each half of the game hen dry with paper towel. In a glass or plastic container (preferable one of those Tupperware Season-Serve containers), shake desired amounts of the Carl’s, McCormick and Cajun or Creole seasonings over the poultry, making sure you turn it all around and get under the wings and thighs. Don’t put too much on, though, or the meat will be too salty.

  2. Add olive oil, wine, garlic, rosemary and parsley to the container (with game hen still in it). Secure the lid and shake the container, flipping it over a few times. Place in the refrigerator at least 1 hour, preferably 4 to 6 hours.

  3. After the meat has marinated, heat the grill according to which type you have. I grill the old-fashioned way, with oak or manzanita coals, and if I cook at my mom’s, we use a gas grill but with wood chips. When the grill is medium-hot, place the game hen halves on top and cook until the meat is done and the skin is nicely charred. Don’t poke it too much or too many juices will escape. You can use the marinade as a basting solution for added flavor and moistness.

  4. Remove to a platter and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Orange glazed pork loin

1 teaspoon salt 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 boneless pork loin roast (about 5 pounds)

Glaze: 1 cup orange juice 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1/3 cup water 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine salt, garlic, thyme, ginger and pepper; rub over the pork roast. Place fat side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.

  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine orange juice, brown sugar and mustard. In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch until smooth and lump free. Add to orange juice mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes. Reserve 1 cup glaze for serving; brush half of remaining glaze over roast.

  3. Bake until a meat thermometer reads 145, which should take about 20 to 40 more minutes, brushing occasionally with the other half of the glaze (not the 1 cup already reserved for serving). Allow roast to stand about 10 minutes before slicing. Reheat reserved 1 cup glaze and serve with roast. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Roasted lamb chops

4 large garlic cloves, pressed 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, lightly crushed 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, lightly crushed 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 6 1 1/4-inch-thick lamb loin chops

  1. In a large bowl, mix garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add lamb; turn to coat. Let the chops marinate at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

  2. Preheat oven to 400. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add lamb; cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and roast lamb chops to desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to platter, cover, and let rest 5 minutes. Makes 3 servings of 2 chops each.

Ham with cherry sauce

1 fully cooked bone-in ham (6 to 8 pounds) 1 cup packed brown sugar 3 tablespoons maple syrup 1 teaspoon ground mustard 1/2 cup sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1 cup cold water 1 can (16 ounces) pitted dark sweet cherries, undrained 1 teaspoon almond extract 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Place ham in a roasting pan. Score surface of ham with shallow diagonal cuts, making diamond shapes. Combine the brown sugar, syrup and mustard; rub over ham and press into cuts.

  2. Preheat oven to 325. Cover ham with foil and bake for 1 3/4 to 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 140 and ham is heated through.

  3. For cherry sauce: In a small saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth; add cherries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and extract. Serve with ham. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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