Roast Chicken with Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice

This is one of those recipes that has been on my menu planner several times, only to be removed, my head filling with second thoughts and fears. It was inspired by a quaint dish on Everyday French Chef. While I had yet to try a recipe from that site that I didn’t enjoy, the idea of Chicken with Cinnamon – I’ll admit it – I had my doubts. Finally, after much debate in my head, I decided to plunge forward and go for it. And go for it I did – daring to take the original recipe and go two steps further – doubling the amount of cinnamon and adding an entire stick to the chicken’s cavity.

While the distinct cinnamon flavor could be found in every bite, it wasn’t over powering. The combination of cinnamon and spice mingling in the pan dripping were a delight to the senses. So wonderful! No fears, no regrets. This was a beautiful dish.

My guys loved this wonderful, succulent roasted chicken.  After dinner, as we were clearing the table, Kiddo made an awesome suggestion for next time. Apples. Place apple slices inside the bird What a great idea! I’ve added his suggestion to my recipe, completely optional. (We all know how the flavors of cinnamon and apples go well together). The apples tucked into the cavity of the bird will add a wonderful moisture to the meat.

Roast Chicken with Cinnamon and Spice
1 Roasting chicken, about 4 lbs, preferably free-range or organic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 branch fresh thyme
1 cinnamon stick
1 Apple, cut into wedges (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Rinse chicken inside and out, removing any excess fat. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the cumin and cinnamon to make a sauce. Using a brush, a spoon or – better yet – your hands, coat the chicken all over with the spice mixture. If there is any extra, you can pour it over the chicken and work into all the crevices.

Insert the branch of thyme. Spread out and place a whole stick of cinnamon on top of the thyme. If using, slice apple into wedges, stuff into the cavity on top of the cinnamon stick.

Place the chicken on a rack in your roasting pan, breast side up. Place, uncovered, in the hot oven. After 10 minutes, without opening door, reduce oven to 400 degrees. Continue to roast chicken uncovered for about 50 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven, add about 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan to create steam. Turn chicken breast side down, cover and continue to roast another 30 minutes.

Remove chicken for a second time from oven and turn breast-side up. Check for doneness. If not fully cooked, continue to roast, uncovered, in intervals of 10 minutes. Continue checking for doneness.

When chicken is done, remove from oven, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large cutting board and carve for serving. (Discard thyme, stick and apples).

Arrange carved chicken on a platter. Pour pan drippings over chicken. Season with salt and pepper just before serving.

I served this wonderful roasted chicken with wild rice and steamed green beans. What a great Sunday supper!


Roasted Cornish Hens with Fennel and Rosemary in an Orange Sauce

Was it the beautiful, golden roasted Cornish Game Hens or the thought of a succulent orange sauce that drew you in? I’d be willing to bet you saw Fennel in the title and cringed, willing to give this recipe the once over, all the while thinking “maybe there’s a way around the Fennel.” You’ve heard the stories – Fennel tastes like licorice. And you, my dear reader, are NOT a fan of licorice. On the whole, what we eat in a restaurant is basically the same combination of ingredients that we cook with at home  There is, however, a short list of ingredients that are commonly used in commercial kitchens that are underused by home cooks. Fennel is probably at the top of the list, often pushed aside by home cooks. While there is no denying its sweet licorice aroma, unlike anise, the flavor of Fennel is subtle and light. Don’t let your dislike of licorice turn you away from Fennel completely. This wonderful vegetable does not need to be the star of the show. As a background flavor, especially in dishes that contain citrus, Fennel becomes that flavor most people like but cannot describe. So go ahead, try a little. I promise, you will be amazed.

Oh, the aromas wafting from my kitchen as this beautiful dish roasted was amazing. Potatoes roasting – I love the smell of potatoes roasting. The hint of Fennel and all that butter oozing from every crevice of the game hens – heave! Just imagine the pan drippings, taking on a subtle kiss from the vegetables, and enriched with all that buttery-white wine goodness. While no cream is used in the sauce, the sauce is none the less creamy. Oh, and the orange segments at the end – divine!

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Fennel and Rosemary in an Orange Sauce
Cornish Game Hens
2 Cornish game hens, thawed and patted dry
10 baby potatoes, quartered
1 bulb fennel, cored and cut into thin wedges
4 plum tomatoes, halved
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2/3 stick butter, divided and softened
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped
1 orange, zested and segmented
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock, divided

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In the bottom of a large roasting pan, scatter the potatoes, then top with the fennel wedges.

Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on the edges of the roasting pan.

Sprinkle the vegetables liberally with salt.  Scatter the chopped rosemary, garlic cloves, and orange zest over the vegetables. Set pan aside

Divide the butter, reserving 2 tablespoons for the sauce. With the remaining butter, about half a stick, smear all over the game hens, working butter into any crevices and under the skin with your fingers. (By lifting the skin up gently and placing butter beneath, this creates an air pocket to aid in the crispness process).

Sprinkle the hens liberally with salt, then place them breast side up over the veggies. Tuck the wings and legs under the hen bodies.

Pour the wine and 1/2 cup of stock into the bottom of the pan. Roast the vegetables and hens for 20 minutes, uncovered. After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven (close the oven door to maintain temperature)  and check the liquids. If the wine/stock mixture has evaporated, add up to 1 more cup of stock if necessary.

Cover the roasting pan, and roast for 20 – 30 more minutes until the veggies are tender and the hens are nearly cooked through – 155 degrees internal temperature, if using a meat thermometer. (You want the legs to pass the “wiggle” test).

Remove roasting pan cover, and let hens roast for 10-15 minutes longer until the skin is crispy and the birds are cooked through.

Remove pan from the oven, and reserve about 1/2 cup pan drippings. Replace pan lid and allow to hens to rest while you make the orange sauce.

Note: I wanted to add some asparagus to the overall presentation. This was super easy – and completely optional.

Asparagus Spears
1 bunch asparagus tips, trimmed
3 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Trim asparagus by snapping off woody ends. Place tips in a micro-wave proof dish. Add water, sprinkle with salt. Zap in microwave about 2-3 minutes or until tender-crisp.

Shake off excess water. Divide into 3 bunches. Lay one bunch each at the far ends of the roasting pan with the resting birds, the third bunch in the middle. Keep asparagus warm in the roasting pan while the sauce is made. Serve as part of the vegetables, ladle with orange sauce.

Orange Sauce
2 Tablespoons Butter (reserved)
1 Tablespoon Flour
1/2 Cup Pan Drippings
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
Orange Slices

In a small saucepan, heat the remaining butter until foamy. Add the flour, and whisk to form a light roux.

Pour in the reserved pan juices, whisking to combine. Add orange juice and chicken stock. Let the sauce bubble and thicken for 1 minute, then add the orange segments, just to warm through.

Carve game hens, and plate with the vegetables. Liberally ladled sauce over everything. Be sure to include some of the orange segments – so delicious!

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken with Teriyaki Glaze

It seems like we have been doing a lot of Chinese Chicken in the crock pot that has you finish the sauce (or in this case the glaze) in a pan on the stove-top. Let’s face it, folks, most of the time crock pots render a lot of liquid. Now in the case of this Teriyaki Chicken, there wasn’t a whole lot of “sauce” left in the pot. What sauce was left was dark – and I do me dark – in color. At first I thought “oh no, it’s going to taste burnt”. Much to my delight, it was just a very dark, very rich sauce that only required a little thickening to transform into a deep, rich glaze.

The only flaw I found in the recipe was that there wasn’t enough rice for the amount of chicken. No big deal – we will make more rice when the few pieces of chicken become another meal. Chinese noodles would also be nice just to change things up a bit.

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken with Teriyaki Glaze
Crock Pot Chicken
3 lbs boneless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
6 Tablespoons apple cider or rice wine Vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Cup Cooked Rice for Serving

Place chicken in crock pot on low heat.

Combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper in a separate bowl. Mix well and pour over the chicken.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours until chicken is tender. Make rice while chicken is cooking. Time your rice so that it’s ready to serve when chicken and glaze are ready.

Remove chicken from crock pot, place on rimmed serving platter. Cover with foil and hold in a warm oven (about 250 degrees). Make sauce.

Teriyaki Glaze
Liquid from Crock Pot, strained
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider or Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup cooked rice for serving

Strain liquid from crock pot into a saucepan.

To the liquid, add vinegar, 1/4 cup (or so) soy sauce and brown sugar. Over medium heat, stir until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat and bring just to a boil.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth and gradually stir into saucepan.

Reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook until sauce becomes a nice, thick glaze.

Remove chicken from oven. Spoon glaze over chicken.

To Server: Spread out a bed of sticky rice on individual plate. Top with chicken. Spoon glaze from platter over chicken and rice. Enjoy!


Slow-Cooker Spicy Orange Marmalade Chicken

We have been eating a lot of frozen Chinese Dinners in our house lately – at lease once a week. Beef and Broccoli, Orange Chicken, General Tso (a Chinese-American dish). It was time to do a little Chinese cooking from Scratch cooking.

While this chicken is cooked up in a slow-cooker; it’s not one of those start it in the morning and forget about it dishes. For one thing, it will cook on low in about 4 or 5 hours; and it does require a little finishing work at the end. This is more along the lines of start it at about noon, then putter about before returning to finish everything at the end. It does give you some free time (always welcome) without complete freedom. If you have teenagers in the house; this is a great dish for them to take on the responsibility of cooking the family meal.

Slow-Cooker Spicy Orange Marmalade Chicken
4 lbs Skinless Chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
Flour for dredging
1 can orange juice concentrate, thawed, divided
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1/4 Tablespoon Red Chili Pepper Flakes, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Green onion for garnish

Remove visible fat from chicken thighs and roll each in flour until well coated. Set chicken thighs in the bottom of a slow cooker.

Combine 1/2 orange juice concentrate, marmalade, soy sauce, garlic and ketchup in a small bowl. Whisk until well blended. Add 1/8 teaspoon (about a pinch) of Red Chili Pepper Flakes.

Pour sauce over chicken thighs. Cover slow-cooker and cook on LOW setting for 4-5 hours.

Remove thighs from slow cooker and place in a rimmed serving platter. Cover chicken with foil and hold in a warm oven. Ladle sauce into a sauce pan. Add remaining orange concentrate and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let cook until reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste sauce, add additional Red Pepper Flake if desired.

Remove chicken from oven. Spoon some of the orange sauce over chicken, garnish with green onions. Serve with additional sauce on the side.

Super Easy Chicken Mole

This past weekend, we had grilled foods on the menu for both Saturday and Sunday’s supper. The weather had been holding nice and steady for mid-October with warm days and cool evenings. One of the more difficult things about this time of year is planning too far ahead. The weather turned. We knew it was going to turn, but none of the news stations seemed to agree as to when and how. Some said wind with a chance of showers. Some predicted light rain in the morning hours, others gave us the chance of heavy rains in the overnight hours. (I’d love to have a job that allowed me to be wrong so often and keep my job!)

Saturday the sky was a nasty, threatening gray. By mid-afternoon, the winds were high, making outdoor cooking just about impossible. Sunday brought heavy rains (it was supposed to be scattered light showers). That meant a last-minute “shuffle” in the menu before heading off to the market. Darn, I had my mouth all set. Oh well, good excuse to dine out on Saturday night. Sunday brought out a recipe I’ve shared before – Cheater’s Mole. mole-ready-to-serveWhile this is similar, with the same basic short cut, my usual Mole Sauce wasn’t available. Same brand, just not the concentrated variety that comes in a jelly jar. This mole sauce comes in a carton “ready to use”. Hum, might have to do a little tweaking to the sauce for that nice, full flavor of the concentrate without all the extra work involved to make my Cheater’s Chicken Mole. Nothing like being flexible. I’ve pushed off the Grilled Quail  and Spice Rubbed Tri-tip for next weekend . . . we’ll see. In the meantime, here’s one of Hubby’s all-time favorite Mexican Dishes, with a few alterations.

The upside to using the Ready To Serve is that it is easier to work with. The down side is that, left alone the Ready To Serve Mole has a chalky finish and isn’t nearly as spicy as its concentrated counterpart. To dilute with broth creates a finished sauce that is thinner than we like. (Adding broth a little at a time and tasting after each addition, it took half a can of broth to eliminate that chalky after taste).

Super Easy Chicken Mole
2 Cartons Dona Maria Ready to Serve Mole Sauce
½ Can Chicken Broth
¼ Teaspoon Chipotle Pepper Seasoning
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin Seasoning
4 large chicken breasts, boneless, skinless

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Empty mole sauce into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 can of broth to the bowl. Whisk until blended. Add seasonings, whisk until well blended. Set aside until ready to use.

Cut chicken into large chunks, about 1 1/2 inches and place in a large casserole dish. Pour sauce over breasts. Cover with foil and bake 1 ½ hours. Uncover and continue to bake an additional 30 minutes to help sauce thicken slightly. Breast should be very tender.


Serve with warm flour tortillas, Spanish Rice and Refried Beans.

Barbecue Chicken and Vegetable Foil Wraps Two Ways

The beauty of these moist barbecued Chicken Breasts (besides cooking up with the veggies) is that you can grill or bake your little packages of flavorful delights. The prep work is minimal, a little chopping, slapping on the sauce and folding the foil packets. Then it’s just a matter of cooking indoors or out.

grill-panTalk about easy clean up! A cutting board, a grill pan, a knife and some dinner plates to rinse. What could be easier?

If you don’t own a grill pan, it’s a worthwhile investment. Food cooks up nicely, with beautiful markings. Great for all sorts of things such as grilled sausage, vegetables and just about anything that needs markings. The beauty of a grill pan is that you need not worry about food falling through the grill and into the fire. I love my pan.


Barbecue Chicken and Vegetable Foil Wraps Two Ways
8 aluminum foil sheets large enough to wrap around one chicken breast with Vegetables
4 (4-ounces each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2-cup barbecue sauce (use your favorite)
1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
1 red, green or yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
8 asparagus spears
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
extra virgin olive oil

For each foil pack, prepare two sheets of aluminum foil; place the sheets one on top of the other for durability.

Heat Grill Pan over medium heat. Lightly oil pan to prevent food from sticking. Grill vegetables for a few minutes, just enough to sear vegetables and give them some nice grill marks. Set aside until ready to use.

Brush Grill Pan with a little more olive oil. Sear and mark chicken for that nice presentation.

Place one chicken breast on each stacked pair of foil sheets; season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Brush each chicken breast with 1 to 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce.

Divide equally and arrange vegetables around each chicken breast; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle chicken and vegetables with little olive oil.

Fold the sides of the foil over the chicken, covering completely; seal the packets closed. While chicken cooks, heat barbecue sauce over low heat to serve with finished packets. When ready to serve; place warm barbecue sauce in a small bowl and serve with chicken for additional sauce as desired.

To Cook on a Grill:
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Transfer foil packets to the preheated grill rack and cook for 30 minutes, or until done, turning once.

Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes. Open packets at one corner to create a small spout. Drain excess liquid, seal shut.

Serve while still wrapped in foil.

To Cook in the Oven:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Transfer foil packets to a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until done.

Remove from oven and let stand few minutes.  Open packets at one corner to create a small spout. Drain excess liquid, seal shut.

Serve while still wrapped in foil.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

In case you were wondering; Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. Cacciatore refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, often bell peppers, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken or rabbit. “Hunter-style” cooking boils down to a popular method of cooking – better known as one-pot method. It makes sense when you think about it – I just can’t see a bunch of hunters doing the dishes, can you?

When I hear the term “hunter-style”, I don’t envision modern men in bright orange vests traipsing through the woods with high-powered rifles. What springs to mind are fur-clad bearded men with bows and arrows. Maybe not cave men, but pretty darn close. Rugged men with large appetites. While my men might not be the most rugged of beasts, the large appetites are none the less apparent and in need of satisfaction. This wonderful dish, over a nice bed of pasta, does the trick.

By removing the skin from the thighs, it reduces the fat and greasy mess of chicken skin. By leaving the bones in, the flavor is intense (like a good bone-based soup) and the chicken holds its shape rather well. The end result are big, flavorful chunks of meat floating a nice tomato base.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore
8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh herbs such as basil or parsley for topping
1 lb linguine

Quick method: Season chicken with salt and black pepper and place in the slow cooker. Pour tomatoes over the chicken, top with onions and peppers, add oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, give it a quick stir and cover.

Set crock pot to LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours. When the timer beeps, remove lid and keep the crock pot on HIGH one hour to help it thicken.

Better method but requires more prep:  Heat a large skillet over medium-high, lightly spray with oil  and brown chicken on both sides a few minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add to the slow cooker.

To the now empty skillet, spray with a little more oil and add onions and peppers. Sauté until juices release and the vegetables become golden, a few minutes.

Add to the slow cooker. Pour tomatoes over the chicken and vegetables, add oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, give it a quick stir and cover. Set crock pot to LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, make the pasta. Let the pasta cook al dente, drain well. Place on a large serving platter.

Remove bay leaf from crock pot. Taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Ladle chicken with plenty of sauce over the pasta and enjoy! (Don’t forget to pull out the bones – yeah, it’s a pain but bones add more flavor. Don’t want to mess with the bones? What can I tell you – use boneless thighs).

Chicken Parmesan Crock Pot Style

Warning – this is one of those rare Crock Pot dishes that does require the meat to be thawed first. It is the only drawback to an otherwise fabulous dish. That one tiny step – thawing out the chicken – is the only step that requires you to think ahead rather than stagger into the kitchen in the morning and throw everything into the pot.

Our favorite Italian Restaurant has closed. What a bummer. One of the “cute” traditions was that it did not seem to matter what you ordered, it always came with a small bowl of pasta on the side – usually spaghetti topped with a lovely marinara sauce. (And when I say it did not matter what you ordered, I kid you not – even if you ordered a big plate of Spaghetti – you got more on the side!)

I miss my little Italian joint. I miss our waiter, a little old man who shuffled when he walked, with an accent so heavy and a heart as big as all outdoors. I miss his wife, the grandmother in the kitchen with a giant dish towel tied around her waist. And the Dean Martin music! I feel homesick for a country that I’ve never been to – if you can imagine that! So I’m cooking up one of our favorite dishes, and serving a good bottle of wine in jelly-jars. Here’s to a bygone memory!

Chicken Parmesan Crock Pot Style
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 egg, beaten
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (26 oz.) jar spicy or mild marinara sauce
1 lb Linguine or Spaghetti Pasta, cooked al dente
Flat Leaf Italian Parsley for garnish

Coat the bottom of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of marinara in the bottom of the slow cooker.

In a bowl, whisk egg. Mix together bread crumb, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese in a separate dish. Dip chicken into egg mixture; then into bread crumb mixture, coating both sides.

Place the chicken in slow cooker and top with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Cover with entire jar of marinara sauce. Cook on low 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

When chicken is done, keep warm in the crock pot. Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil. Cook pasta as directed, about 8 to 10 minutes in boiling water.

Chop parsley while pasta is cooking

Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Place chicken on a serving dish. Ladle marinara over both dishes. Toss pasta to coat. Sprinkle pasta and chicken with parsley to garnish

Pasta can be eaten on the side in a small bowl (Italian Style) or topped with chicken when serving.

A nice salad, or pan-seared vegetables and warm bread round out this supper nicely. Enjoy!

Baked Garlic Caramelized Brown Sugar Chicken

Lately we’ve been eating a lot of chicken – thanks to Costco and a freezer in the garage. It’s getting to be time for another big run. Hubby and I have decided to wait and stretch things out another two weeks. Have you ever been in a Costco on a Saturday of a 3-day holiday weekend? Oh you can just shoot me now. I cannot think of a single thing that I need that badly from Costco that I cannot get at my local grocery store or nearby farmer’s market. Okay, the big bulk and the overall savings. But you need to ask yourself what is your sanity worth? If possible, we’ll even avoid the local grocery stores, unless you are shopping early in the morning. Am I right?

This chicken is delicious! It’s sweet, with a subtle kiss of garlic. The meat is very moist and there are pan drippings so packed with flavor – wow. It is unlike any chicken I have tasted before. Not a whole lot of prep work for a resulting dish that is delightful.

Baked Garlic Caramelized Brown Sugar Chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and lightly grease a casserole dish. Set aside until ready to use.

Cut chicken width-wise to create 4 smaller breasts.Season chicken with a little salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts in a prepared baking dish.

In small sauté pan, sauté garlic with the oil until tender.

Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over breasts. Press down to hold sugar in place.

Bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes, depending upon size of breast. After 15 minutes, keep a sharp eye on breasts to avoid burning or over-cooking. If necessary, cover with foil and reduce temperature to about 425 to degrees.

Breasts are done when internal temperature is 165 degrees, the juices run clear and the meat is moist and tender.

Garlic and Rosemary Cornish Game Hens

There is something about roasting chickens and Sundays that seem to go hand in hand. Growing up, it was always a big, fat hen. We didn’t do Game Hens. Maybe because there were so many of us, it made more sense to roast a big, fat chicken for Sunday Dinner rather than a small game hen. When asked, Dad said he did not particularly like game hens. He thought the meat of the game hens was too dry.

live game henOne thing I have always done with game hens is to let them sit for several hours in a pot of cold water with some salt and a little liquid smoke or mesquite seasoning. It really did not matter how the recipe said to “roast” the hens, a bath in seasoned water has always come first. I don’t know if this truly prevents the meat from becoming too dry, it’s just what I do. Always have. So as I sat down to write this post, I decided to surf the web – see what others have to say on the subject. The answer? Some do, and swear it makes the meat more juice, others don’t and swear brining  alters the natural flavor of the hens. No definitive answer. (By the way, you know how google tries to “guess” what it is you are searching for? I typed “Do game hens . . .” and what popped up was “lay eggs” – a subject I had never really thought about before. Turns out they do, but they aren’t very good at it).

You will notice that the recipe that follows calls for 4 hens. In our house, we generally roast two. Hubby has his fill of dark meat from two birds, with Kiddo and I find that the breast of one hen is sufficient for us to be satisfied. After all, it’s not as though we aren’t having more – there’s always a potato or rice dish and a vegetable.

Tonight is no exception. Our yummy sides consist of Garlic Mashed Potatoes with a Twist and Browned-Butter and Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots with a Kiss of Kahlua.

Here’s to Sundays and Sunday Suppers!

Garlic and Rosemary Cornish Game Hens
4 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pound) Cornish game hens, giblets removed
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
4 large fresh rosemary sprigs
3 tablespoons olive oil
24 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chicken broth
Additional rosemary sprigs (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat hens dry with paper towels. Season cavities lightly with salt and pepper. Place 1 lemon wedge and 1 rosemary sprig in cavity of each hen. Rub hens with 1 tablespoon oil. Season outside of hens lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange in heavy large roasting pan. Scatter garlic around hens. Roast hens in hot oven 25 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Pour wine, broth and remaining 2 tablespoons oil over hens. Continue roasting until hens are golden brown and juices run clear when thigh is pierced at thickest part, basting every 10 minutes with pan juices, about 25 minutes longer.

If birds are not cooked through, add about 1/2 cup more chicken broth, cover and continue to cook 15  minutes longer.

Lift hens to transfer to a serving platter, pouring any juices from cavity into roasting pan. Tent hens with foil to keep warm. Transfer pan juices and garlic to heavy medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to sauce consistency, about 6 minutes.

Cut hens in half lengthwise. Arrange on plates. Spoon sauce and garlic around hens. Garnish with additional rosemary sprigs and serve.