Ingredients Jump to Instructions ↓

  1. 2 Cornish game hens

  2. 6 T Butter, at room -temperature

  3. 2 T Lemon juice

  4. 2 T Tarragon, dried -(or about 1 T -fresh tarragon)

  5. 1/8t Salt

Instructions Jump to Ingredients ↑

  1. + Directions : Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare the hens by rinsing thoroughly, checking for pin feathers and patting dry. Be sure to remove yellow fat found at the cavity opening. Gently separate the skin from the flesh by sliding your fingers between and tearing the connecting membrane. It is easiest to begin at the cavity opening and work up the breast. Leave skin attached at the lower two-thirds of the wings and base of the legs. Work carefully over the breastbone area so as not to tear the skin which is firmly attached at this point. Thoroughly blend the butter, lemon juice, tarragon and salt. If the butter is not soft, it will be difficult to incorporate the lemon juice. Using your fingers, spread a layer of herb butter under the loosened skin of each hen. Spread a small amount on the skin. Tuck wings under the back of the hen and set each hen on its side, breast down on a roasting rack over a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn hens to other side. Roast for another 15 minutes, then set hens on their backs with breast up and roast for a final 15 minutes (total cooking time about 45 minutes). Each time the hens are turned, baste by spooning pan juices over the bird. Hens are fully cooked when juices run clear and drumstick moves easily in its socket. Remove birds to a warm platter and let sit for 5 minutes. Reduce pan juices to a thin glaze consistency over high heat and serve as a sauce. (You may want to flavor the pan juices with a little dry white wine. ) Quarter birds before serving. Each bird should serve two people. NOTES: * Cornish game hens basted in tarragon butter -- This method of "basting" fowl by spreading an herb butter under the skin infuses the meat with the flavor of the herbs which usually is kept on the skin with normal external basting. * This basting method can also be used when grilling, either over a barbecue or in the broiler. I prefer barbecuing to oven roasting in the summer (I tend to roast along with the birds) and prepare the birds a little differently in this case. Rather than grilling whole, before the butter is spread under the skin, each bird is split along the spine using a sharp heavy knife. This is quite easy since the spine and ribs are easily cut with moderately heavy pressure and rocking motion on the knife blade. I then spread the bird, breast up, and crack the breast bone to flatten with a sharp blow on the breast with the heel of my hand. The wings are tucked under themselves and the legs and thighs left loose. The birds can be cooked ahead of time and taken on a picnic or prepped in advance and grilled at the picnic. * Margarine may be substituted for the butter without major noticeable effects on the flavor. * In the summer, I like to serve either a tabbouleh or Italian tomato salad (quartered RIPE tomatoes sprinkled with chopped fresh basil and drizzled with olive oil) and a white zinfadel. * Since I like herb butters with all kinds of fish and fowl and have an herb garden, I generally make up 2 cups or more of herb butter at a time, using a food processor to assure thorough blending. The butter keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. : Difficulty: moderate. : Time: 15 minutes preparation, 45 minutes cooking. : Precision: approximate measurement OK. : Pamela McGarvey : UCLA Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, Los Angeles, California : {hao,sdcrdcf}!cepu!pam : Copyright (C) 1986 USENET Community Trust


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