I simply couldn't help myself. At the elementary school book fair, they had some cookbooks for sale for the adults. Most of them were books I wouldn't be interested in having in my kitchen, mere advertisements for brand names and perhaps a [lame] food network star or two.
And then. This book caught my eye. Food & Wine's Quick from Scratch Chicken. It's paperback, while I prefer hardcover, but it benefits the elementary school, right? I just happened to have bought a few Cornish hens for my parents' visit, and what do you know--this book had half a dozen recipes for Cornish hens. Sold.
I decided on this recipe for our hens, because we had all the ingredients. All of the recipes sound great, and fairly quick. This one takes about an hour, so it doesn't qualify as a weeknight or fast recipe in my book, but that's still pretty good for a total time.
Through the first step, though, I can tell you that this recipe is already taking longer than it should. I am glad I started it before 4:00. The "6 minutes" of toasting bread cubes has extended into 18+ and those things aren't even close to golden brown, and my oven is brand new. Oh well.
We cooked 6 Cornish hens, so I doubled the recipe. This would be a nice, easy recipe for a simple holiday meal. Just be sure to allow some extra time. It's very easy to assemble, but I do feel like the times are just a bit off in the recipe. I had to cook our Cornish hens at least 10 minutes longer, but it was worth it!
The Cornish hens were so flavorful and juicy. Although the recipe says to halve the hens, we had bought and cooked 6 hens for 6 people, so everyone got their own. H-Bomb and Sawed Off were so excited to have their own "baby chicken!" The stuffing is aromatic and delicious. A wonderful meal.
Roast Cornish Hens with Panzanella Stuffing
Italian bread salad is the inspiration for this simple stuffing that bakes in a dish alongside the hens until crisp and golden brown. Prep time 6 minutes Cook time 40 minutes Rest time 10 minutes Serves 4
1 1/2-pound loaf sourdough or firm country bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)--(I used Artisan bread)
2 Cornish hens
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups drained diced canned tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled, or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1. Set the oven at 425 degrees F. Put the bread cubes in the oven while it heats and toast them until golden brown, about 6 minutes. (or just wing it and toast the darn things however you need to)
2. Twist the wings of the Cornish hens behind their backs and tie the legs together. Put the hens, breast-side up, in a roasting pan. Coat the hens with 1 tablespoon of the oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Dot with butter. Roast the hens until just done, about 40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, oil a deep 1-quart baking dish. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the garlic, parsley, rosemary, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the toasted bread cubes and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and stir well to combine. Put the stuffing in the prepared baking dish and cover with a lid or with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cover; bake until the stuffing is crisp and golden brown, about 12 minutes longer.