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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cornish Hens: Recipe

Without sounding really disgusting, I have to say that Cornish hens are so cute! Ok, yuck, that sounded a bit barbaric. Moving on...these little birds are quite delicious but they are not a good dinner party idea (Unless your guests are served hens with wet-naps and tons of napkins)!

However, Cornish hens are a great Sunday night dinner for a small family. Kids enjoy the "chicken" and adults get to eat without feeling stuffed like a bird! These cooked about an hour and 20 minutes and they were golden brown delivered tons of juice that collected in the plate during rest time. The addition of the pancetta under the skin gave the meat a hint of smoky flavor and the pieces of pancetta that peeked out of the cavity were so delicious and crispy.

Roasted Cornish Hens with Pancetta
3-4 small Cornish hens, washed and dried (roughly 1.6 Lbs each)
1/4 cup Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
4 oz. pancetta
3-4 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 leek, slices thin
1/4 cup parsley
3 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375.

Place birds into a large baking dish so they are snug next to each other - but not overcrowded (breast side up). Rub the skin and the inside with salt and pepper. Scatter carrots around the birds. Slip fingers under the skin to loosen - careful not to tear. Add about 1 Tbsp. of pancetta under the skin of each bird. Divide the parsley and the leek slices between the birds and stuff loosely into the cavity along with 1 Tbsp. of pancetta toward the outside. Scatter the remaining pancetta around the hens.

Drizzle the hens with oil and place in the oven for about an hour and 20 minutes or until meat thermometer registers complete.

Tent loosely with foil and allow the hens to rest about 10 minutes. Serve with the collected juices.

1 comment:

Sophie said...

Cornish hens are cute -- they look so small compared to chickens :). I made these for Christmas and my family loved them. I like how you added the pancetta, yum!