You know what we did last weekend..we cooked this – see below the pic…two Cornish hens roasted in oven and glazed with maple and honey. This was kind of some kitchen experiments for us, as we never cooked a whole chicken before. The idea of cooking a whole chicken never seems to me too appealing, but then perspectives changes with time and there is always a first time for everything. It not only brings us out of our comfort zone but also pushes ourselves to new limits, and we are glad that we did it.
It all started with our New york trip to my SIL’s place, she has roasted a whole chicken for us which took a good 2-3 hours time, and as she was explaining me the concept of cooking a whole chicken, the idea of new recipes from the leftovers clicked for me. There she mentioned something called ‘Cornish hens’, we had no idea about it, except that it would be a hen, 🙂 but when we found the packaged Cornish hens in a supermarket, on a whim, we happily picked it up. And the next best thing I did was to pick up a packet of herbs for poultry, it has rosemary, thyme and sage..wow ! Rosemary I have used before in the chicken, it has a wonderful aroma and perfect for poultry dishes, fresh thyme I have never used, only the dried ones and sage…no..never in any form. And I knew this one is going to throw some challenges.
What followed next was to ping a dear friend Devaki of weave thousand flavours for a good recipe of Cornish hens and a long distance call to NY to my SIL.
Devaki has forwarded me a wonderful recipe (she calls it devils chicken) of oven roasted chicken that she has cooked a while ago, the recipe calls for a generous dose of jalapeno chile oil, and that is something I can’t go for as my DH has a low-level of spice tolerance. But her step by step photos explained me well, the nitty-gritty of cooking a whole chicken and her cooks note are really very helpful, where she has shared some good tips too.Thanks, Devaki, you and your recipes rocks !!!
In between the loads of work, my SIL has taken time to answer all my queries, and gave me a load of suggestions like stuffing the chicken, lining the roasting pan with sliced potatoes and some veggies, basting the chicken after every 15 minutes to keep it moist etc. Thanks Sash, you are really a wonderful person.
Since I am not following any particular recipe, I was on my own, so instead of preparing any sauce for it, I thought of glazing the chicken as I did before for the chicken breast. So I prepared a honey and maple syrup glaze with generous drizzle of lemon and herbs.
So here we go, with two cornish hens, well seasoned and infused with the three herbs – rosemary, thyme and sage all exuding wonderful aroma as it slowly get roasted in the oven with a highly appetizing honey maple glaze which gives some gorgeous sheen to the chicken and served along with fried brown rice and roasted / steamed broccoli with garlic-lemon and green beans with toasted almonds and there off course was this good chardonnay to accompany us on this fabulous meal.
Read below the recipe for roasted Cornish hens to know how I went about it:
- Cornish hens : 2
- Packet of herbs for poultry : it has rosemary, thyme and sage (3-4 twigs of herb each)
- Olive oil : ½ cup
- Salt and pepper to season
- Maple syrup : ¼ cup
- Honey : ¼ cup
- Chilli flakes : ½ tsp
- Juice of lemon : ¼ cup
- to stuff inside the chicken like garlic and onion; and to line the roasting pan like sliced potatoes and carrots etc
- Pre heat the oven to 400 F.
- Finely chopped the rosemary, thyme and sage. This should yield at least 2-3 tbsp of mixed herb.
- I have used the perdue Cornish hens, and it was well cleaned. Just wash the chicken in cold running water.
- Stuff the chicken with some roasted garlic and quarts of lemon along with some red onions. It does not only enhance the flavour but also keeps the meat moist.
- In a small mixing bowl, add a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle some salt and cracked black peppers, add one tablespoon of lemon juice along with the chilli flakes. Mix it well and add 1 tablespoon of mixed herbs.
- Rub the chicken well with these seasoning inside out.
- Next line the roasting pan with sliced potatoes and carrots or onions. This will prevent the juice coming out of the chicken from sticking to the pan.
- Arrange the seasoned and stuffed chicken in the roasting pan side by side. Roast in a pre heated oven for 45 minutes or till the juice from thigh runs clear.
- In a mixing bowl add the honey and maple syrup, whip it up a little and add the 1 tablespoon of oil, 2-3 tablespoon of lemon and 1-2 tablespoon of mixed herbs. Mix it well and baste the chicken with this glaze after every 10-15 minutes.
- Once done, let it cool for 5 minute before start carving it.
Sides to go with this three herb oven roasted Cornish hens:
Fried Brown rice ( 2 cups of cooked rice ) : Cook the brown rice as per the package instruction. Heat some oil in a pan, and add one medium chopped onion, saute for a while and then add 1 tablespoon of ginger cut into Julienne. Fry for sometime and add the chopped tomatoes about a quarter cup. Mix it well and cook till the tomatoes release their juices, add a dash of soy sauce and season it with salt and pepper. Add the cooked brown rice and mix it well, fry for couple of minutes and take off from the heat. Serve it as a side to the oven roasted Cornish hens.
Steamed broccoli and green beans with toasted almonds: As the name suggested, steam the florets of broccoli and the green beans with their stalk removed. I love the roasted or burnt smell of broccoli, so I fried the broccoli along with the green beans and few cloves of minced garlic in a little olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper over it. Mix it well with the toasted almonds. You can also go for pine nuts.
Wine pairing : We paired it with white wine Chardonnay which goes very well with the full flavoured roasted chicken dishes, and it also helps to cleanse the palate that leaves the sense of taste clear and ready to enjoy the next bite.
Hope you have liked our adventures in kitchen….more to follow soon, so stay tuned till next post.
Have a wonderful day