Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cornish Hen with Stuffed Skin.

about a month ago i got the chance to cook a 3 course meal for my good friends Zyanna and Gordie for their 4th anniversary. it was an honor that they would trust ME to be a part of their celebration. i really think they had a great time and enjoyed the food. i decided that i should go with what i know works and make what i would call my signature dish. Roasted Cornish Hen w. Herb and Garlic stuffed skin. This is a staple of Sunday dinner at my place when I have friends over and by far my fave way to cook a roast hen. I served it with some green beans and an onion and leak risotto with a rather refined fig sauce that i often serve with it. it was a great pleasure to give close friends such an intimate gift on such an auspicious occasion. I would like to thank both of them by dedicating this recipe to them.

PS Gordie (aka Gordon Ball) will be showing his latest set of wonderful pictures at the Sleeping Giant Gallery @ 789 Dundas St. West in Toronto starting Sept 18 (today) and going till Sept 25. i suggest that you go and buy stuff from him while its still affordable.

Cornish Hen w. Herb and Garlic stuffed Skin and Fig Sauce



2 Cornish hens, halved and cleaned

1/4 cup marjoram chopped

1/4 cup sage chopped

1/4 cup thyme leaves chopped

1/8 cup Rosemary leaves chopped

1 table spoon coarse sea salt

5 large cloves of garlic, chopped fine

very soft, but not liquid, butter... enough to coat the 2 hens

pepper to taste


8-10 dried figs

3/4 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup semi dry white wine

1 shallot

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons maple syrup

salt to taste.

couple nobs of butter

Cooking Directions - Hens

1. turn your oven to 400 and allow to heat up.

2. combine all ingredients in a bowl except for hens and butter.

3. using your finger, poke a small hole in the membrane between the chicken breast and skin. i find it best to do this where the breasts were cut apart at the meatiest part. you only want the hole big enough for you to stick your finger in and poke the stuffing around. using 2 fingers, put some of the herb and garlic mixture under the skin, and moving it around so it coats the flesh evenly. do the same for the thigh by making a similar hole where the thigh meets the back bone. you will have to use your finger to push the stuffing all the way to the leg. repeat for the three remaining hen halves.

4. place the hens on a rack in a roasting pan and using your fingers cover the hens with the butter. cook the hens for 45 minutes to 1 hour basting the birds every 10 to 15 minutes. they should come out of the oven a deep golden brown. remove from pan, cover with tinfoil and set aside.

Fig Sauce.

1. using half of the chicken stock, de glaze the roasting pan making sure to scrape up all the brown bits with a wood spoon. poor into a bowl and reserve.

2. heat a sauce pan on medium heat and add one nob of butter. let melt and add the chopped shallot. cook until soft, about 4 minutes. add white wine and reduce to about half. add the chicken stock and the reserved pan drippings with the dried figs. using a potato masher, smash the figs to make sure they release all their flavour. reduce by half. add vinegar and maple syrup. and cook for an additional 2 minutes. by this time the sauce should be getting quite thick. remove from heat and add the final knob of butter.

3. take a fine mesh strainer and line with cheese cloth. pass the sauce through the strainer being careful to remove all the fig seeds. you should be left with a rich, smooth, and wonderful tasting sauce. re-heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

serve the dish with roasted potato's or risotto and spoon over the sauce. enjoy.


zyanna said...

that was so delicious.

Ashlinn said...

I think that you are a lovely writer, Michael.

Ashlinn said...

and you make it impossible for me to be a vegetarian, everything looks so good- I can nearly taste the pork t just by looking at the photo...