1Split hens with poultry shears. Pull the skin off the hens, using paper towels to get a better grip. Prick hens all over with a fork or a thin skewer. Make diagonal slashes, 1/2 inch thick and 1 inch apart — 2 on the breast, 2 on the thighs and 1 on the drumsticks. Place hens in a large shallow dish. Combine the food coloring in a small bowl and brush over the hens evenly.
2Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and rub it on the Cornish hen halves. Mix thoroughly, turning several times, pushing marinade into slits and coating pieces evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight or a maximum of 2 days.
3Remove hens from the refrigerator and arrange them, meaty side up, on a 10-inch microwave-safe bacon/meat rack. Cook with 650 watts for 6 minutes (or until hens are fully cooked). Remove from oven.
4If you are using fat, brush hens lightly with usli ghee, melted butter or olive oil.
5Heat 10-inch browning skillet, uncovered, with 650 watts for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and add hens, meaty side down, to the skillet. Let hens sear until sizzling stops (about 1 1/2 minutes), pressing the hens down. Cook hens with 650 watts for 2 minutes (or until hens turn crimson red and glazed). Remove from oven.
6While hens are cooking, add accumulated juices from the bacon rack to the onions and peppers in a bowl and mix well. Spread vegetables on bacon rack. Cook vegetables with 650 watts for 2 minutes. Remove from oven. Arrange tandoori hens on a heated platter and serve surrounded with onions, peppers and lemon wedges.
Justin Chapple, Food & Wine Deputy Test Kitchen Editor, is back this week with another killer Mad Genius Tip—an ice cream cake made of store-bought ice cream sandwiches, that requires just minutes of prep time.
This classic should be in every Southern woman's repertoire. A moist, delicious Chocolate-Mayonnaise Cake pleases crowds of all ages, and is the perfect dessert to bring to a neighbor, to a potluck, or to a summer party.