Roast Cornish Hens with Herbs

This looks sophisticated yet comforting. Cooking with the skin keeps the bird juicy but adds no fat if you remove it. If you can only find larger Cornish hens, serve half a bird per person.

Makes 8 servings

16 cloves garlic, peeled
16 lemon wedges
8 small Cornish hens (about 1 lb/500 g each)
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh sage, or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
2 cups (500 mL) homemade chicken stock
2 tbsp (25 mL) soy sauce
2 tbsp (25 mL) Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) soft, non-hydrogenated margarine

Place two whole garlic cloves and two lemon wedges in each hen.

In a small bowl, combine oil, minced garlic, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper. Gently separate skin from breast and thigh of each hen and rub meat with herb mixture. Rub any extra over skin. Arrange birds on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Roast birds in a preheated 400ºF (200ºC) oven for 45 minutes or until well browned and cooked through. Baste occasionally. Place birds on a platter and transfer pan juices to a measuring cup.

To make sauce, spoon off fat from pan juices. Place juices in a saucepan with stock, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, combine flour and margarine. Stir into sauce and cook until just slightly thickened. Adjust seasonings. Serve hens with sauce on the side.

Bring the birds to the table on a large platter. Serve on a bed of fresh sage or bay leaves and garnish with lemon slices. Fresh figs also make a lovely garnish.

Assemble everything ahead of time but roast just before serving.
Nutritional Information per serving (without skin)

Energy (calories)… 322
Protein… 42.3 g
Total fat… 13.4 g
Saturated fat… 2.9 g
Cholesterol… 182 mg
Carbohydrate… 6 g
Fibre… 0.3 g
Sodium… 727 mg
Potassium… 549 mg
Excellent source of ribofavin; Niacin;Vitamin B6; Vitamin B12; Zinc
Good source of Iron

Recipe from Heart Smart™ Cooking for Family and Friends by Bonnie Stern with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, published by Random House Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited.