Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Roasted Sage-Rubbed Cornish Hen with Cranberry and Pecan Stuffing

The name Cornish hen, in and of itself is a complete and utter misrepresentation of what the product really is. First of all, it does not originate from the Cornwall region of the United Kingdom (ie. not Cornish) nor is it always a hen (it could be either male or female). It is actually just a regular chicken that is slaughtered at a younger age, hence its smaller size. Yes, that's about as exotic as the young bird gets. It is also often referred to as a poussin. But I digress. We are not here to debate the poultry industry's branding methodology but to really talk about how to roast yourself a delicious bird as an alternative to turkey during Thanksgiving. So, read on.

Here, I have a Cornish hen that is seasoned with a combination of chopped sage (or dried sage powder), garlic powder, thyme, salt, pepper and vegetable oil. Roast it slowly in a 375°F oven between 45 to 60 minutes. In that time span, continue basting the hen a couple of times with the seasoned herbs and oil combo.

To make the cranberry and pecan stuffing, here is what you'll need:

1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup potato (small cubes)
4 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a pan and sauté all the vegetables except the garlic, which should only be added at the last moment. Add the herbs, garlic and a splash of chicken stock and continue cooking until all the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and set it aside to cool down. In a mixing bowl, shred 2-3 slices of white bread and add the cranberries and pecans. Next, add the cooked vegetable into the bowl, together with another splash of chicken stock and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. And you are done.

You can either stuff the stuffing into the Cornish hen when you roast it or just serve it on the side with the hen. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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