Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cornish Game Hens

The conversation around my dining room table this evening:

     Q: "I really like these baby chickens."
     M: "They're not really baby chickens,  They're more like smaller cousins
            of chickens."
     G: "Yeah - who would eat baby chickens?  That's ridiculous."
     M: "Well, actually there are these things called Poussin..."

Ready for the oven
Despite (perhaps because of?) the philosophical and zoological discussion, the Cornish Game Hens went over big - particularly for such a small-ish bird.  The Purdue hens were on sale this week at the Chopper and Tom picked up 3, which were more than enough for the boys and me.  We even have 1 1/2 left for another meal - and you know how I like to cook once and eat twice. I have to confess, I haven't cooked game hens in a long time, perhaps 5 years or so.  And, as long as I'm confessing here, there was a time in my life, perhaps 25 years ago, when I was convinced that Cornish game hens were the epitome of dining elegance and they were very much a part of my entertaining repertoire.  They were certainly a nice change to our standard, chicken  thighs, drumsticks, breasts rotation, and I won't hesitate to toss a few in the freezer for a change of pace - particularly if preparing them can transport me like an kitchen time machine, back to the mid-80's.
By this point in our relationship, you know I'm not one for recipes for items like this.  It's all about the inspiration for me, and I had a hankering for couscous.  We had a box (or 6.  What was there a big sale?) of Near East in the pantry, so I made it according to the directions.  Than I added golden raisins, some ripe chopped pear, roasted pumpkin seeds, diced onions and paprika.  It seemed a little dry, so I poured in a bit of apple cider to moisten things up and, after rinsing the birds, lightly stuffed them with my couscous.  I used the remaining couscous to surround the birds and finished by rubbing the breast area (hope your web filter didn't just lose its sh*t) with olive oil, and then going a little crazy with sea salt and a dusting of paprika.  To keep things moist, I added perhaps  3/4 of a cup of chicken stock to the pan and then I popped them in the oven at 375 for about 65 minutes and they were perfect.
Juicy, flavorful birds.

The boys ripped into these with such enthusiasm that they definitely ingested fruit unintentionally - success!  And look what we can look forward to for another meal:
Leftovers rule.


  1. Every time I order buffalo wings, I think, "how many baby chickens am I eating?" Those little drumsticks are real. I imagine the babies are healthier to eat than full-grown chickens because they never had a chance to be injected with growth hormone; their parents bones break so easily, too frail to support their own artificial weight. But I'm just kidding myself. Tell Q I like baby chickens too.

  2. I would adore this meal....oh my...may make Cornish Hens this year rather than Turkey for Thanksgiving if it ends up a very small group...yum