Monday, October 26, 2009

Roasted Cornish hens


What an easy solution to late morning musings about dinner. Peter wanted me to get turkey tenders. Safeway doesn’t carry them. They do carry whole turkey breasts – but – they’re frozen…Deal Breaker!

The idea was to use some sage pesto he made last month using sage from our garden. I thought about using chicken breast, not a bad idea…just boring. I hit on Cornish hens. They too were frozen, but thawed sufficiently in 2 hours for me to get them into a brine. (For brining enter “brine” into the search engine of blogspot.)

I’ve done chicken parts many times where I stuck fresh sage leaves under the skin. It’s really good. But the pesto idea would incorporate some parmesan cheese as well.

Once, in the first year we were together, Peter and I made Cornish hens stuffed with prosciutto and larded on the outside with fatback. God, they were good. However, nearly 30 years later, I have issues with weight and body image. I will never look like a GQ model, gut I don’t like to suck in my gut to get my pants fastened. I am 5’ 9” and weigh a skosh below 140 pounds. Doesn’t sound like much does it?

Well, I weighed 137 pounds a few weeks ago when I quit smoking. The last time I quit I gained 15 pounds over the course of several months. Never again! It took me 6 months to lose that 15, combined with the resumption of smoking. It’s a vicious cycle. Do I want to live longer as a fat man, or die younger as a smoker who could still get lucky at the baths? Sorry if I’ve embarrassed you.

Roasted game hens
2 Cornish hens
basil or sage pesto (or fresh sage leaves)
1 cup shredded carrot
olive oil
salt and pepper

Spatchcock the hens. Don’t know what that is? Just cut out the backbone and press down on the breast to flatten the bird. Cut off the end joint of the wings. Slice through the skin near the end of the legs and tuck them through it. Check the first picture above to get a good look at the results.

Preheat the oven to 400°.

If you have pesto, smear it under the skin in as many areas as you can get to. Don’t put it on top, it will burn. No pesto? Put sage leaves under there. Add grated carrot to the "pesto-ed" areas. Stretch the skin back into its original position.

Brush the birds all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast skin side up for 40-45 minutes until the internal temperature of the thickest meat is at 165°. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

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