Roast by Hammer
Roast Cornish hens with melted onions and lemons. Serves 2 (or 4, cut in halves with a salad on the side).
Roast Cornish hens with melted onions and lemons
2 cornish hens, about 3 lbs/1,3kg in all
4-5 small, organic lemons, halved
2 cups/3 handsful pearl onions, peeled
1 cup/240ml white wine
1 1/2-2cups/360-500ml vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp juniper berries, gently crushed in a mortar
5-7 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp butter
good olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large, heavy skillet, bring a glug of olive oil and the butter to sizzle over medium heat and sauté pearl onions, agitating the pan every so often so that all surfaces brown, about 7-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Pat the hens dry and rub each with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and the crushed juniper berries.
In the same cast iron skillet over medium heat, sear the hens on all sides until browned.
Add lemon halves and sear for 2-3 minutes a side, until their cut surfaces are caramelize and brown.
Add wine and scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan.
Nestle the pearl onions around, amidst the lemon halves and hens.
Add the thyme and stock, and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and then transfer pan into a preheated oven, 350ºF/175ºC.
Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until juices run clear and cooking liquid has reduced slightly. Carefully remove from oven and bring the pan table-side.
Spoon sauce atop hens, onions, and lemons and enjoy.
Image and recipe: Melina Hammer via Taverne Agency