Do not let the sweet appearance of these cornish hens, melted onions, and roasted lemons fool you. This depth of flavor and juiciness is your new favorite meal. Onions sweet and mellow from their long stew, lemons charred (and melty too). All in complement to succulent, caramelized cornish hens.
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Serves 2 (or 4, cut into halves)
You will need:
good olive oil
1 tablespoon pasture butter
2 cups pearl onions
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cornish hens, about 3 lbs in all
1 tablespoon juniper berries, gently crushed in a mortar
4 to 5 small, organic lemons, halved
1 cup dry white wine
5 to 7 sprigs fresh thyme
11⁄2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- 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 caramelized 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 350°F oven.
- 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.
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