Cornish or game hens sometimes have the reputation of being boring. They're usually served with a side of stuffing and maybe some green beans for a dash of colors. However ,like any fowl , they can be livened up with exotic spices. The result is a tasty spin on a traditional recipe.
David Tanis experimented with the chickens and wrote about them in today's New York Times Food section.His City Kitchen column offers advice about them Remember these are expensive birds , being slightly a few dollars more than the average capon or even turkey. Cornish or game hens are worth it. The meat is extraordinarily tender. That's really their selling point. this tenderness is a plus, because the meat quickly absorbs any marinade from spicy to lemony.They're about a pound each, with some reaching two pounds so figure one each for hearty eaters. Both butchers and grocery stores sell them.
Mr Tanis decided to give them a Middle Eastern spin. He spices them with sumac, the main ingredient in tend of the moment, za'atar along with pepper and cinnamon. Pomegranate molasses is added for color and sweetness however be warned.It can slip to the bottom of the roasting pan and burn quickly.Mr. Tanis' solution is keep half an inch of water at the bottom. when this mixes with the pan juices, then baste the birds to keep them moist.It's served with basmati rice flecked with raisins, currents and pine nuts/ There's also a sprinkling of bright jewel red pomegranate seeds for extra zest and zing. Mr. Tanis garnishes it with fresh mint for color but you can omit it if you like.
Cornish hens are a great dinner . Their tender meat is perfect for absorbing such exotic spices as sumac and cinnamon.Give it a Mediterranean flair with these and the lush pomegranate.