Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cornish Game Hens and Roasted Root Vegetables


I love turkey just as much as the next guy, but I'm not usually ready for another one by the time Christmas rolls around a month later. This year, we did Cornish game hens for Christmas Eve instead. Since they're whole roast birds, they tend to have that "special occasion feeling". However, they're much easier than turkey and less time intensive, too.

The same rules for getting a succulent bird still apply just like they did for the turkey. Don't fill these with bread stuffing or anything. You're just going to dry out your bird and wind up with really soggy stuffing. Go for the fruit, herbs and aromatics instead. I kept it simple this time and simply quarted a Gala apple, since Cornish game hens don't come with much cavity space to fill up. I also added some fresh rosemary sprigs from the garden.

Underneath and around the hens, I added a bed of assorted root vegetables -- red potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions, and turnips. They are simply seasoned with only a little Pam spray and cracked black pepper. The rest of the seasoning came from the juices of the hens themselves which were brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with cracked black pepper as well.


Cooking these couldn't be simpler. Simply preheat your oven to 375 while you're preparing the hens and root vegetables. Then pop the whole tray in for about an hour or until hens are fully cooked and the vegetables and potatoes are tender. It's simple, it's easy and it's nutritious. It makes your house smell terrifically festive. Even more importantly, it's delicious without being overly time consuming when you're probably busy trying to finish up your gift-wrapping and holiday prep the way we all were today. More people really need to give these little birds a chance, in my opinion!
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