Petite birds are just right for a home-cooked gathering
By Susan M. Selasky, Detroit Free Press
January 6, 2011
If you're planning on just a few guests for a home-cooked gathering and don't want to wrestle with a whole turkey or a hunk of beef, try Cornish hens.
They're inexpensive, petite and make for a nice presentation. And because they are small, they cook quickly.
You will typically find hens sold frozen and wrapped individually with two to a package. Thaw them in the microwave or overnight in the refrigerator. If you choose microwave thawing, they need to be cooked immediately.
One whole hen weighs 1 to 11/4 pounds. There is a small amount of meat to bone with Cornish hens, so plan on one per person for a generous serving.
You can season and flavor these little hens as you would a whole chicken. Today's recipe calls for a basting sauce made with orange marmalade, pineapple juice and few other seasonings. You can substitute apricot preserves for the marmalade if desired. Be sure to reserve some of the basting sauce.
In this recipe, the hens are roasted with peeled, whole shallots and whole bulbs of garlic. Roasting the shallots and garlic brings out their sweet flavor. Serve the roasted shallots as a side with the hens. After roasting, the garlic should be soft. Squeeze the garlic from the cloves and spread on slices of crusty bread. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/features/food/fl-food-cornish-r1-010611-20110106,0,1256457.story