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A Chicken is a chicken…

By Sherry Schie, Chef/Owner of Jazzy Cooking

One of the parts of Jazzy Cooking is preparing gourmet dinners for guests at a couple local bed & breakfasts and inns. We LOVE cooking these dinners for their guests! Yes, there’s plenty of great Amish-style restaurants in the area, and most lodging guests visit them at least once. Some guests only come to the area to enjoy that style of great cooking! I admit, there’s not much better than a big plate of mashed potatoes, gravy and roast beef… oh, don’t forget the NOODLES… I LOVE THE NOODLES!

Anyway, some guests are looking for a different and unique “edible experience” - that’s what we call our service style. It’s all about the experience, but not in the typical restaurant setting. We do these dinners in the cabins, their rooms, or the B&B’s main dining room. The guests love this dining experience, and we love them loving it!

Last week, we did one of these dinners at a local B&B and the guests requested Cornish hens. Now, I love cooking Cornish hens; they are so juicy and so tender if prepared correctly. Otherwise, they are dry… and a dry chicken is just no good! Come on, really, who wants to eat that?

So, as we were preparing the Cornish hens, my daughter, who helps me when she can (she has a real full-time job! LOL!) asked me, “So mom… is a Cornish hen just a baby chicken? I mean, they are SO little!” At that moment, I thought to myself, “How many other people wonder that question? How many people don’t cook these delicious birds because they think they are hard to cook, or too fancy for a weeknight dinner?”

If you’re reading this blog, you are either sitting there nodding your head, thinking, “Why yes Sherry, I have thought about that,” or maybe you’re saying, “Nope, I’ve cooked them and LOVE them!” So, to those who know about Cornish hens and you’ve perfected the art of cooking them, you can skip the next bit of info… but, if you have a great recipe you’d like to share with all of us, submit it here at OAC or email it to me at – I LOVE trying others recipes! I am looking for something new!
If your answer was yes, you wondered about Cornish hens and how to prepare them, you are in luck today! We are going to share some interesting info with you below, as well as my recipe.

Enjoy your food! Create an “edible experience” in your home with your friends and family!
Until next time,
Chef Sherry

P.S. My daughter never liked to cook, can you believe that? But, she LOVES learning! Here is a picture of Tara making whipped cream, for the FIRST TIME! Seriously, she never wanted anything to do with the kitchen. My, how things change (she got married and her hubby was hungry! LOL!).

Here are some chicken varieties – smallest to largest. Below is a brief definition of terms related to chicken types and market forms:

Rock Cornish Game Hens - Similar to the Poussin, but a crossbreed. Size range is 16-32 ounces.

Poussin - Immature birds, occasionally available in specialty markets. Size range is less then 1 pound.

Stewing Hen - Old birds, over 10 months. Very tough and need to be cooked low and slow. Size range is 3 ½ -5 pounds.

Capon - A specialized type of bird that is very large, yet retains the characteristics of a young chicken. Usually under 8 months old and very tender. Size range is 5-8 pounds.

Roaster - Ranging from 3-5 months old. Small and tender. Best when roasted; low and slow. They have less flexible cartilage and heavier skin, yet can still be tender. Size range 3 ½-5 pounds.

Fryer - Slightly bigger than a broiler, a fryer is the same general age range and cooking characteristics. Size range is 2 ½-3 ½ pounds.

Broiler - Small birds, from 9-12 weeks old. Small and tender and are able to be cooked by quick, high heat methods. Broiling and grilling are typical uses of these birds. Size range 1 ½-2 ½ pounds.

The information above is from International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute.

Roasted Cornish Hens
2 Cornish hens
¼ cup olive oil
4 fresh sprigs sage
4 fresh sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoon dried thyme
2 tablespoon butter
½ cup Port wine
½ cup chicken stock
Butcher/kitchen twine
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse and pat dry the Cornish hens. Rub the olive oil over both hens and stuff the fresh sprigs of thyme and sage inside the cavity. Place the hens in a shallow 9-by-13 pan.
In a bowl, combine salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and dried thyme. Rub the mixture all over the hens. Carefully, lift breast skin and place 1 tablespoon butter on each breast.

Truss the legs together and pour wine and stock in pan with hens.

Roast 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from pan and rest. Remove twine and serve.

Fri, May 4th 2012, 10:00

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