Grilled Jerk Cornish Hens
4 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, stemmed and halved 5 small scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 tablespoons water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Cornish game hens (about 2 pounds each)
In a blender, puree the Scotch bonnets with the scallions, thyme, garlic powder, brown sugar, soy sauce, dark rum and water. Season with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Using kitchen scissors, cut out the backbone of each hen. Press down on the breasts to flatten the hens. Set them in a baking dish and coat them all over with the jerk paste. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300°. Set the hens on large rimmed baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes, until firm but not browned or cooked through.
Meanwhile, light a grill. Grill the hens over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, Basting the hens with extra jerk sauce until cooked through and lightly charred in spots, about 20 minutes. Transfer the hens to a platter and let rest before serving.