I hadn’t eaten Cornish hens in several years, so, I picked up two. But for a change, I wanted to cook something different–not just a simple roast, turn them over and we’re done. No particular recipe caught my eye in my chicken cookbook and elsewhere, but eventually a familiar mix of ingredients popped up as I browsed the internet; and with a bit more thinking, I saw could expand on it adding other foods.
I pat dried the hens with paper towels, draining out any juices too. Then I rubbed two tablespoons of olive oil over them. Next, I sprinkled them generously with salt and pepper, and added a good amount of dried herbs, like: thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage and dill. I set the birds aside. I preheated the oven to 425 degrees.
I scoured my refrigerator for an assortment of vegetables. I also thought this would be an ideal time to use up half head of green cabbage still looking good. I cut everything up in fairly large pieces. I discarded the thick core of the cabbage, but still had plenty of leaves to add, and coarsely chopped those too. I tossed all these veggies together, and added 3 cloves of garlic, sliced. I sprinkle salt and pepper on the vegetables, and stirred. In a 3 quart corning ware pan, I rubbed one tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom and sides of the pan.
In a random manner, but evenly, I spread the vegetables in the pans’ bottom. I topped them with the Cornish hens. I put the uncovered pan in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. After 40 minutes I basted the hen with the accumulating juices and added two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. I basted it several times throughout its cooking time. If I felt it was getting too brown, I covered the dish.
I love baked potatoes, and put one next to the pan once I rubbed it with a bit of olive oil when the cooking time remaining reached one hour. My husband made grits for himself; it’s his latest passion, a familiar dish he recalls from childhood. The Cornish hen was fall-off-the-bone tender, and succulent. Naturally the juices from the hen dripped on the vegetables adding big flavor. The cooked cabbage complimented the other vegetables with some sweetness. I never had to remove the garlic; it just disintegrated leaving hints of garlic flavor. I mixed the vegetables with my potatoes, and my husband added the veggies to his grits and enjoyed the flavorful juices swimming in his smooth grits! Although quite a simple meal; it satisfied both of us.
Share with me your favorite recipe for Cornish hens. Might you add a lemon, or whole small onion, even a head of garlic, in the hens’ cavity? I thought of these ideas afterwards. I plan on making Cornish hens again, and not waiting several years to do it. My husband and I gobbled down this dish quickly, and therefore I totally forgot to take a picture! That will be next time.
INGREDIENTS Serves 2-3
2 Cornish hens, 1 1/4 lb each
5 carrots, cut in 2 inch pieces
1 large onion, quartered
3 scallions, sliced
2-3 celery stalks, cut in 2 inch long pieces
1/2 head green cabbage (optional)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
3 Tbsp olive oil