Cornish Hens Two Ways

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Nothing says it’s the winter season better than cornish hens. Just think of this meal as a warm up to the enormous turkeys and hams that will be gracing dining rooms everywhere. Not only are they easy and quick to cook, they are so beautiful to present when garnished with sage and look resplendent with colorful root vegetables lingering at their side. And did we mention delicious? Oh, that too. Tender, juicy, and as easy as 1,2,3, here is our solution for the tired minds of those stuck in the kitchen this holiday. 

Oh, these little cuties. I discovered them when I accidentally mistook them for roast chickens, but happy that I did! They are the perfect size to enjoy on your own if really in the throngs of hunger, or shared with a dining counterpart if not starved. Somehow they are always perfectly juicy and great to bronze up in a pan before you roast (they fit happily between a pair of tongs).  It gives them the best, crispy exterior. Have I mentioned that I love them? – Jenet

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YEILDS

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 Cornish Hens

4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened the

3 tsp crumbled sage

6 twigs of sage

2 tsp thyme

Paprika

Salt

Pepper

Assorted vegetables (squash, brussell sprouts, carrots)

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl blend together well 2 tablespoons of the butter with the sage and the salt. Loosen skin covering the breast meat on each hen by slipping your fingers between the skin and the meat. Place the butter mixture under skin and  smooth the rest by rubbing the outside on outer skin. For the other hen, place 1 Tbs butter underneath skin and sprinkle paprika over top of bird. Season both the hens with salt and pepper.

In a large 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 2-4 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown.  Take them from pan and place them breast side up in large roasting pan. In the same skillet, use the last 1 Tbs butter with long sage leaves and cook until crisp, about 4 minutes. Drizzle butter and sage mixture over hens in roasting pan.

Take whole, cleaned vegetables and place in roasting pan. Salt and pepper to liking.

Roast 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. Serve and enjoy!