December 30, 2006

Roast Cornish Hens with Sage Butter

Roast Cornish Hens with Sage Butter
from Gourmet Magazine

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt

two 1 1/2-pound Cornish hens, rinsed and patted dry

In a small bowl blend together well 2 tablespoons of the butter with the sage,the zest, and the salt. Loosen the skin covering the breast meat on each hen by slipping your fingers under the skin and sliding them between the skin and the meat. Divide the butter mixture between the hens, inserting it under the skin of each hen and smoothing it evenly by rubbing the outside of the skin, and season the hens with salt and pepper. Tie each hen's legs together with kitchen string.

In a large ovenproof heavy skillet or small flameproof roasting pan heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over moderately high heat until the foam subsides, in it sauté the hens, breast sides up, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown, and roast them in the middle of a preheated 450°F. oven, basting them with the pan juices every 10 minutes, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the fleshy part of the thigh registers 180°F. Let the hens stand for 5 minutes and discard the string.

Notes: I was inspired to try this after watching an episode of Jacques and Julia at Home where they roast a whole chicken and rub herbs under the skin. I've never attempted this before and I think I would have liked a more even distribution. But it was very savory and extremely tasty. I need to remember, though, that the packages lie about how long it takes to thaw such things and give myself an extra day or two ahead to leave it sitting in the 'fridge.

Posted by Jennifer at December 30, 2006 10:29 AM | TrackBack

The flavor was worth the wait, so I'm looking forward to having this again with the aforementioned longer thaw cutting down the cooking time.

Posted by: Michael at January 29, 2007 9:20 PM

This was even better the second time, both because the cornish hens were fully thawed before cooking and because they were filled with delicious stuffing. Yum. The birds themselves were very tasty, and this time they were also extremely tender and cooked all the way through, after spending the recommended amount of time roasting in the dutch oven (with the lid off).

Posted by: Michael at March 23, 2008 10:56 AM

Once again delicious, but, despite the hens being fully thawed, the cooking time was closer to 45 minutes to reach the 180 degree mark.

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