Joseph "JJ" Johnson's African-Inspired Dinner

© John Kernick

Posted November 18, 2016

At The Cecil and Minton’s in Harlem, Joseph “JJ” Johnson 
cooks the foods of the African diaspora. At home, he marries those vibrant flavors 
with simple ideas inspired by his grandmother’s cooking.

Chef JJ Johnson roasts Cornish game hens instead of chicken. They’re juicy, flavorful and faster-cooking, and—best of all—everyone gets his or her own. Here, tips and tricking for making these savory birds at home. 

1. Master the marinade.

Food & Wine: Roast Hen with Yassa Marinade

© John Kernick

A West African-inspired yassa rub is stellar on poultry, fish and beef.

2. Go all in.

Food & Wine: Joseph JJ Johnson

© John Kernick

Whiz herb and chile stems into the marinade for extra flavor (and no waste).

3. Who needs string?

Food & Wine: Joseph JJ Johnson

© John Kernick

Truss by cutting slits in the skin and tucking the legs in. 

Get the recipe: Roast Hen with Yassa Marinade.

"I totally hated rice as a kid! All I ever ate was the instant kind. Now that I’ve learned how to make it, I eat it almost every day.”

4. Give it a swoosh.

Food & Wine: Joseph JJ Johnson

© John Kernick

Soaking and swirling the rice reduces some of the starchiness.

5. Naturally nonstick.

Food & Wine: Joseph JJ Johnson

© John Kernick

A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is ideal for the perfect crispy rice. 

Get the recipe: Crispy Coconut Sticky Rice

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