Monday, April 09, 2007

sunday supper: easter hens

Yesterday's dinner was almost entirely influenced by what was on sale at Fresh Direct. The main course was Cornish Hens with Herb Butter, from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, posted as one of the One-Click Recipes on Fresh Direct. I have the original Silver Palate cookbook and it's one of my favorites, this recipe lives up to that. I served the hens with wild rice and artichokes, and followed it up with mini Chocolate Lava Cakes with strawberries and fresh whipped cream.

The cornish hens turned out to be much larger than I'm used to, close to 2 pounds each, so we had an obscene amount of food. Usually, a 3/4 lb or 1 lb hen is perfect for one person, instead we each only ate half. But the leftovers should make great chicken salad.



6 Rock Cornish Hens (3/4 to 1 pound each)*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup snipped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons crumbled dried sage

PREPARATION: 1. Rinse the birds and pat dry. Sprinkle the cavity of each bird with salt and pepper.
2. Process to a paste the butter, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme and fresh sage in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

3. Carefully separate the skin from the breast of each bird. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the herb butter between the skin and breast of each bird. Smooth the skin into place and truss.

4. Preheat oven to 450° F.
5. Rub the oil over the bird and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Finally, rub the dried sage evenly over each bird and place in a roasting pan.
6. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° F. Continue roasting until juices run clear when the thickest part of a thigh is pierced, about 40 more minutes. Baste frequently with the pan juices. Serve immediately.

One thing I thought odd about this recipe is that it called for chopped fresh herbs for the herb butter. Since you're putting the butter and herbs into a food processor to make the herb butter, I don't know why you would bother chopping them first. Just put the herbs in the processor, pulse them a few times, then add the butter and process to a paste. Voila, super easy. It's much more difficult to actually wash the damn bowl.

I simply steamed the artichokes, trimming the stem, removing some of the small outer leaves, and slicing across the very top. I steamed them for about 30 minutes, then served with melted butter. As easy as it gets.

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