Cornish Games Hens (Poussin) with Pesto
Total time: 60 minutes
Small, perfectly roasted hens make an elegant presentation and are perfect individual servings (with maybe a snack leftover). If yours are larger birds, one may be enough, (you can split it in half before roasting) or fix two and have cold chicken/game hen for lunch tomorrow! Remember to put bowls for bones on the table - and wet towels for fingers. The pesto under the skin keeps it moist and adds some summery flavor.
- 1 - 2 Cornish game hens or poussin (little chickens), depending on size. (mine are just over 1lb (500gr) each)
2 tbs pesto
- 1 tbs white wine
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) white wine
- 1 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water
- 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock.
- Slip your finger under the skin on the breast and slowly loosen the skin as far as you can reach on either side of the breast bone.
- In a small dish, mix pesto and wine.
- Using a small spoon or your fingers, put as much pesto under the skin as you can easily manage. Any leftover just put into the cavity.
- Tie legs closed and bend wings around and under the back - so it looks like they are lying there with their arms akimbo. It keeps them from flapping and gives the hen something to rest on.
- Lay the hens on a rack in a shallow baking pan. Rub them with the olive oil and sprinkle on the paprika.
- Put into 400F (200C). Bake for 40 - 60 minutes, depending on size.
- After 30 minutes, remove and pour the white wine over each hen.
- Return and bake until done. See techniques. I recommend a meat thermometer. Poultry is done with an internal temperature of 165F (74C)
- Remove hens, cover with foil to keep warm and let rest 5 - 10 minutes.
- Pour pan juices into a small sauce pan. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir into pan to thicken gravy.
- Serve birds with gravy on the side.