Baked cornish hen stuffed with onion, celery, and carrot
The baby carrots cook perfectly and taste great
Cornish hen are simply teenage chicken. They are small and relatively inexpensive. I bought these two for $5. Because they are small these birds are great for serving 1 or 2 people, or for serving a large number of people a great feast.
Prepare the hens by giving them a good rinse with cool water, inside and out. The hens have a large cavity. Unlike whole chicken or turkey, the hens do not have any innards stuffed inside. Dry the hens with paper towels and place on a cutting board.
Prepare your vegetables:
Cut onion into many thick wedges; approx. 3/4 inch thick.
Cut celery into 2 inch lengths.
Trim ends from lemon and cut in half. Slice one half into 4 slices. Cut second half into quarters.
Liberally season the hens with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning on the inside.
Stuff the birds:
Place an onion wedge in the back of the cavity. Then stuff as many baby carrots and 3 or so pieces of celery into the cavity. Squeeze lemon quarters in when halfway full. Keep quarters for roasting bag. When stuffed, use another onion wedge to seal the end.
Next, liberally coat with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Carefully, rotate and season the birds to cover entire bird.
Prep the bag:
Prep the bag for baking according to the instructions on the box. (Most baking bags require shaking flour on the inside to prevent the bag from bursting during baking. Read your bags instructions because it won't be pretty it the bag erupts in the oven. Seriously.)
If you don't have a roasting pan you can use a sheet pan and an aluminum foil "snake" to support your bag while baking. Either way, place the bag vertically in the pan and open it up.
Place the remaining onion, celery, extra bit of carrot, and lemon wedges inside. Squeeze the other two pieces of lemon wedge over the vegetables. Place all squeezed wedges in the bag.
Place the birds in the bag side by side. Pour in 3 cups of water or chicken stock. Drizzle surface of hens with sesame oil. Place lemon slices on top. Press lightly to stick.
Gently twist and seal bag with. Slit the bag several times with a knife according to your bags instructions. This allows venting.
Bake in a 350F oven for about an hour.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes to cool. If you want to save the juices from the bag. You should do this before opening the bag. Otherwise, to remove the hens just cut away the top of the bag.
The juices in the bag are great for adding to stock or preparing gravy. To reserve the juices, carefully transfer the pan to your sink. The pan will be hot. Place a large bowl in the sink and maneuver the pan over the bowl so that the hens are supported by the pan.
Using kitchen shears or a knife pierce the bag and empty the stock into a bowl. Allow the stock to cool in the fridge, then pour into a freezer container and freeze; best within 3 months.
Each bird can easily serve two people if you slice them in half. The birds easily slice in half using a good knife.
The inside of the hen holds perfectly cooked baby carrots. The meat on these hens is very tender and light.
I served them with mashed sweet potatoes and fried okra.