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Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! :: Cornish Hens

Another year, another bird! Since I wasn't hitting three turkey dinners or chasing Northern Lights, I enjoyed some much needed time at home, in Toronto :-)

I was in charge of the meat - instead of tackling a turkey, I decided to go big by going small with Cornish hens! Love love love these little guys. They're super easy to cook and fun to serve!

Add a helping of buttery mashed potatoes, sweet pumpkin pie and stuffing and you'll forget all about that turkey. Why battle family members for the best cuts when you can have it all to yourself? ;)


Cornish Hens
5 Cornish hens
2 lemons
4 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
Garlic salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika to taste

Stuffing
1/2 large carrot
1/4 large onion
1/2 celery stalk
1/4 green pepper
5 brown mushrooms
7 garlic cloves
1 stalk swiss chard
1 small handful of fresh parsley
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of thyme
Garlic salt & pepper to taste
1/2 lemon

Cooking the hens:
1. Chop all stuffing ingredients and squish 1/2 lemon into a bowl & mix
2. Remove giblets from hens and stuff 'em full with #1
3. Poke rosemary and thyme under the skin and squish lemon juice all over
4. Season hens with garlic salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika
5. Make a foil pouch per hen - join the long sides of the foil, then fold & crimp the sides
6. Bake for 90 minutes at 160C/325F
7. Remove, set oven to broil, carefully open each packet and pour drippings into sauce pan
8 Brown the birds in the oven - keep a close eye on the hens, they'll be golden browse and crispy in ~ 5 minutes! Let them rest for ~ 5 minutes before digging in - if you can resist ;-)

Making the gravy:
While the hens are cooking, put a small pat of butter in a pan and brown the giblets. SautĂ© any leftover stuffing mixture, 1/2 onion, 1/4 carrot, 1/2 celery, 2 garlic cloves. Skim thyme off of 1 sprig, add some pepper, then pour a few cups of water in. Lower heat & simmer while hens are cooking, adding water to keep it simmering ~ 75 minutes. Let it thicken when the hens are almost ready to be pulled out, at which point add some drippings then keep it going. While the hens are resting, post-broil, use a whisk to add cornstarch / flour if you like a thicker gravy. Use a sieve to strain the gravy to get rid of bits of vegetables / gliblets and globs of fat.

How do you defrost Cornish hens?
Depending on your fridge, take then hens out 1-2 days before dinner. If you take them out a couple days before, the hen should be defrosted enough to stuff, marinate, and poke all sorts of delicious things under the skin. If you forget / are preparing a last minute Cornish dinner then you can submerge them in cold water to hasten the process, changing the water every 30 minutes or so.

That's not real stuffing!
Sure it is - just missing stale bread. Modify it by toasting bread in the oven beforehand and crushing it into the mixture before stuffing.

Why do you wrap your hens?
I don't like rubbing my chickens with butter / olive oil or having to baste every 20 minutes or so. This a great way to keep them juicy and you can brown them in the final moments.


posted from Bloggeroid


I've started to hit the gym again, which is much harder than I thought it'd be. It's never been so hard to run - I know that the only way to make it easier is to keep training but it's hard to give myself the initial push. But I know I have to if I want to run 10K in under 50 minutes and feel comfortable in my favourite clothes again. I am going to be on the road again soon, which will make it even more challenging - so I need to establish a routine now! I am so lucky to have such supportive and non-judgmental friends who have been encouraging and loving - thank you :-)

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