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Wednesday, April 4, 2012


4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 Cornish hens
cooking spray
2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
fresh basil sprigs, optional

Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to split the hens. Preheat oven to 375F. Combine first 7 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens with cold water; pat dry. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub pesto under loosened skin. Gently press skin to secure. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under hens. Place hens on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Insert a meat thermometer into meaty part of a thigh, making sure not to touch bone. Combine potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, tossing well to coat. Arrange potatoes around hens; bake at 375F for 45 minutes or until thermometer registers 180 degrees and potatoes are tender. Remove hens and potatoes from pan and cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin. Cut hens in half and cover loosely with foil. Place a zip top plastic bag inside a 2 cup glass measure. Pour pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes; the fat will rise to the top. Seal bag and carefully snip off 1 bottom corner. Drain drippings into pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Place the pan over medium high heat. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Combine 1 tablespoon water and cornstarch, stirring well with a whisk. Add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 3 minutes. Serve sauce with hens and potatoes. Garnish with basil sprigs, if desired. 8 servings.

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