It's recipe time! I have quickly become totally and completely obsessed with our Brookhaven Farmer's Market. It's not huge, but the quality/loyalty of the vendors is great. I go every Saturday that I can...it's my way to get local, fresh ingredients in the city...and I'm obsessed! I usually cook meals on Sunday evenings that I couldn't cook during the week. In other words, I cook things that take a little longer. Thanks to the Farmer's Market, we had a great Sunday night supper that felt like fall - baked cornish hens, lady peas & garlic ciabatta bread!
For the baked cornish hens, you'll need:
- 6 cornish hens (I only bought two and split the recipe)
- lemon juice
- melted butter
- Fresh herbs...like rosemary and basil, thyme would also be great
For the marinade, you'll need:
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup Kitchen Bouquet
- 1 - 8oz jar of orange marmalade
First, rinse hens and pat dry. Don't forget to take the gizzard our of the cavity :) Place on a rack over a baking sheet. Tip: line the baking sheet with foil to ease the cleaning process. I did not do this and I threw my baking sheet away, as the cleaning of it was way too daunting after all the caramelized drippage! Lazy? Maybe.
Next, pay attention to the cavity. I stuffed some rosemary and basil in there. I also flipped the hen over and stuffed some rosemary up under the breast. Just be gentle with the skin so you don't rip it totally off. You'll have to ease your pointer finger in there to detach it some from the meat. Like this...
Rub hens with salt, pepper and lemon juice. I also sprinkled some in the cavity. Aren't they pretty??
Brush with melted butter and place in a 425 degree oven. Baste with butter every 15 minutes. Make sure you have a turkey baster before you begin the process. I didn't. Luckily, there is a grocery store about a mile from my house...but there is nothing worse than going back for that one forgotten tool or ingredient. Argh.
Anyway, brown for 30-40 minutes.
This is a good time to make your marinade.
It is quite possible that no one in your grocery store will know what or where Kitchen Bouquet is. It was an act of congress to find this little bottle! I must have asked 3 people before having to go to the customer service counter. Then the specialist chef had to get involved. It was a mess, but we found it!!! It is located in the condiment aisle, near the marinades, on the highest shelf, in the littlest bottle. It is a browning agent and a condiment used in cooking, not plain like on a sandwich.
After 30-40 minutes in the oven, your cornish hens are browning so nicely.
Now you will lower your oven to 350 degrees and spoon your marinade over the little hens. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. Baste often - I did every 15 minutes. Don't they look yummy?
About 30 minutes before the hens were done, I started the lady peas. Super easy. All you need to do are rinse the peas, place them in a small saucepan, cover them with water and add some Better Than Bouillon. I used a generous tablespoon. Maybe a tablespoon and a half. This paste is amazing...a little expensive but it's worth it.
Bring the water to a gentle boil, then turn down the heat to low and let simmer. I just test the peas every once in a while. They should be soft but not at all mushy.
I cheated on the next side dish. I bought this as is at our farmer's market. Garlic ciabatta bread. Delicious. You could easily make this by spreading a butter/garlic/herb mixture on some crusty bread. Put on a cookie sheet and broil in the oven for a few minutes.
And you're done! Sit down with a glass of wine, get your hands dirty and enjoy your hard work/elegant meal!
If you do live in Atlanta, be sure to check out the Brookhaven Farmer's Market. It is small, but it is great. Some of the other items I've gotten there are fresh cinnamon rolls, fresh eggs, chicken sage sausage, High Road ice cream, popsicle from King of Pops, all the fresh vegetables you can imagine, etc. Give it a try!
What's your favorite fall dish??