This is a special dish for a special occasion. These Cornish hens are stuffed with potatoes instead of the traditional rice, and the results are delicious. You can serve them with additional whole baby potatoes.
- 2 small Rock Cornish hens -
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves (approximately) -
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced -
- 1 tsp black peppercorns -
- ¾ tsp kosher salt -
- 4 tsp olive oil, plus additional for potatoes -
- 2 lbs. mini or baby potatoes, cut into small cubes -
- Additional whole baby potatoes for roasting -
- 4-8 shallots for roasting pan -
1. Preheat oven to roast setting at 400° F. Rinse Cornish hens and pat dry.
2. Remove the thyme leaves from their stems and mix together with garlic, peppercorns and salt. If you have a mortar and pestle, you can crush the thyme with it, or you can use a mini food processor. (You can also do it the good old-fashioned way — I put a plastic bag over the end of a rolling pin and smash the thyme leaves in my regular mixing bowl.) Add olive oil and combine well with your fingers.
3. Divide mixture in half and, with your hands, lift up the skin from the back of the chicken and smear the paste onto the chicken. Smear all over the flesh, even into the legs and front, if the skin is loose enough. Do the same with the second Cornish hen.
4. Add cut-up potatoes to the remaining paste and toss to coat. Stuff the potatoes into the cavities of the Cornish hens and tie the back legs together to prevent the potatoes from falling out (you can use kitchen twine or just regular thread to tie the legs).
5. Place extra baby potatoes and shallots in a 9-inch x 13-inch roasting pan. Cover generously with olive oil, Kosher salt, pepper and more thyme leaves. Place Cornish hens on top of potatoes. Roast for one hour, uncovered. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
NOTE: To reheat, bake at 350° F, covered.
TIP: Cornish hens vary in size so keep this in mind.