When something claims to be the best of both worlds, it’s often too good to be true. But when it comes to California Prunes, they’re the real deal. California Prunes deliver incomparable nutrition and digestive support. Pair that with their delicious, naturally sweet, earthy flavour, and you’ve got a superstar ingredient for chefs and home cooks alike.
It’s difficult to summarise the health benefits of prunes, only because there are so many. California Prunes are an under-the-radar superfood dried fruit and gut health hero. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they’re also an amazing source of fibre. A single serving of 4 to 5 prunes provides 3 grams of soluble and insoluble fibre and 26 g of natural carbohydrate to help fuel your day. Naturally lower on the Glycemic Index than other dried fruits means that they are slower to digest contributing to more stable blood glucose levels. And let’s not overlook the potassium, vitamin K, and polyphenols which work together to promote good bone health.
All these health benefits make California Prunes an important snack at any age. Culinary expert, Chef Rodney Bowers, takes consuming prunes up a notch, and shows us how they’re a versatile ingredient for both sweet and savoury dishes in cooking. Chef Bower’s recipe for Sweet, Spiced Cornish Hen with Macerated Prunes simmers whole California Prunes in pan drippings with spices and sherry to make a delectable sauce for the hens. In his Kabocha Squash and Prune Fritters recipe, the California Prunes are diced and mixed with spices and squash into a crispy, crunchy bite-sized treat. Whether enjoying whole, diced, pureed or simmered, California Prunes go well with proteins and grains, on salads and cereals, and in sauces and baked goods.
“I’m a true host with the most and love entertaining over the holidays,” says Chef Bowers. “This year, I’ve been inspired by the incredible flavours and quality of California Prunes to create two delicious recipes that are perfect for entertaining during any season. Whether it’s the in-laws for holiday dinner, or a fancy cocktail party with friends or work associates, or even just a lovely meal at home with that special someone, these California Prunes-infused recipes can be enjoyed by all. Not only are they super-scrumptious, but they are the gift that keeps giving, with incredible health benefits for your heart, gut, and bones.”
California has world-famous growing conditions for prunes that contribute to their premium taste, quality, and texture, so be sure to look for prunes that say “Product of USA” or “Product of California”.
For more information, recipes and nutrition facts, visit https://www.californiaprunes.ca/recipes/
Sweet, Spiced Cornish Hen With Macerated Prunes, Olives and Lemon, Served With Jewelled Couscous
In Chef Rodney Bowers’ recipe for Sweet, Spiced Cornish Hen with Macerated Prunes, Olives and Lemon, whole California Prunes are simmered in pan drippings and then deglazed with sherry to form a wonderful glossy sauce. The California Prunes pair elegantly with the coriander, fennel, anise and cinnamon that are rubbed on the hens before baking. Chopped California Prunes and nuts stud the jewelled couscous that is then tossed in a lemon vinaigrette.
Sweet, Spiced Cornish Hen with Macerated Prunes, Olives and Lemon, Served with Jewelled Couscous
- 2 tbsp coriander seed
- 2 tbsp fennel seed
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp anise seed
- 1 tbsp fenugreek
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 Cornish hens
- ½ cup California Prunes
- ¼ cup Cerignola olives
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ lemon squeezed
- ¼ cup sherry
- ½ cup good olive oil
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups vegetable stock water is fine if you prefer
- 1½ cups couscous
- 8-10 California Prunes chopped
- ½ cup whole shelled pistachios
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds
- 3 tbsp parsley chopped
- 3 tbsp mint chopped
- 3 tbsp coriander chopped
- 3 tbsp chives chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425℉
- In a small pan, over medium heat, toast coriander, fennel, anise and fenugreek seeds for about two minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer the seeds to a coffee grinder and finely grind. Transfer to a small bowl and add cinnamon, paprika and olive oil. Set aside.
- Split the Cornish hens each in half lengthwise (or de-boning is optional – ask your butcher to do so). Rub the spice mixture liberally over the hens. Place hens in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of two hours or overnight for deeper flavours.
- In a large, ovenproof skillet, over medium-high heat, add the grapeseed oil. Season the hens with salt and add them each to the pan, browning the skin for about two minutes.
- Place the whole skillet in a preheated oven at 425°F, and roast for approximately 15 minutes (or until juices from the thigh run clear when it is pierced or until internal temperature reached 165°F.) Remove the birds and cover with foil. Rest for 5 minutes.*Chef’s note: While hens are cooking, prepare lemon vinaigrette and couscous.
- Pour any excess oil from the skillet and return skillet to stove top, over medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan with sherry. Allow the liquid to reduce by half, adding in the olives and California Prunes. Finally add a knob of butter and a squeeze of lemon.
- Serve Cornish hens family style over jewelled couscous and top with macerated California Prunes, olives and lemon glaze to liking.
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk ingredients together until emulsified. Set aside for couscous.
- Add couscous to a medium-sized, glass or ceramic bowl.
- In a medium-sized pot, over high heat, bring stock to a boil and pour over couscous. Cover with cling film and let stand for about 10 minutes.
- Prepare the rest of your ingredients – herbs, California Prunes, nuts and vinaigrette.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork and fold in the remaining ingredients.
- Add 70 ml of lemon vinaigrette, toss through with a fork, and serve family-style with Cornish hens layered on top.
Kabocha Squash and Prune Fritters with Prune and Miso Sauce
Chef Rodney Bowers’ Kabocha Squash and Prune Fritters with Prune and Miso Sauce incorporates chopped California Prunes in the fritter mixtures and also purées softened California Prunes to form a sauce for dipping. The umami packed sauce combines the sweet earthiness of the prunes with the salty savoury miso paste and the kick of fresh ginger. A perfect party appetizer.
Kabocha Squash and Prune Fritters with Prune and Miso Sauce
- 1.3 lb kabocha (buttercup) squash or acorn squash
- 1 cup chopped California Prunes
- 2 eggs divided
- 1½ cup flour divided, more if needed
- 1 tsp miso paste
- 1 tsp hot chili flakes
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- ½ bunch green onions thinly sliced
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
- ½ tsp kosher salt
Prune and Miso Sauce
- 5-6 California Prunes
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp white miso
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Cut squash in half and lightly season with salt and pepper; place face-down on a tray and bake in over at 350°F for 45 minutes or until squash is soft.
- In a large bowl, add the cooked squash (skin removed) and chopped California Prunes. Stir to combine.
- Whisk in one egg and add ½ cup flour, miso paste, hot chili flakes, black pepper, lemon zest and juice, and onions. Mix to combine and adjust seasoning if desired. Adjust flour amount as needed, so that the mixture will hold its shape.
- Form fritters into balls with a 2-oz ice cream scoop.
- In a large-sized pot, add oil and heat to about 350°F.
- Set up your breading station with one bowl each for 1 cup flour, egg and Panko. Bread the fritter by rolling fritters in flour, then egg, then Panko.
- Add the fritters to the oil, cooking for a few minutes, then rotating and cooking for another two minutes. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with Kosher salt. Repeat with remaining fritter batter.
- Serve with Prune and Miso Sauce.
Prune and Miso Sauce
- Soak the California Prunes in water for 10 minutes.
- Remove California Prunes from the water and add to a blender or food processor and purée.
- Pour purée into a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix together.