Cornish Hens with Salsa Verde
The Easter lunch menu is one of my favorite menus to create. I think I love it so much because at our house, the Easter menu is different every year- unlike the other holidays which are all about tradition. I also love it because it’s the first big get together of the Spring and its the perfect time to use beautiful fresh herbs and Spring veggies. This year I am making roasted Cornish hens with a salsa verde. This is one of those great fake out meals- it looks over the top impressive, but it is actually really simple. The salsa verde that is served with the hens is filled with fresh Spring herbs and is so next level delicious, you will be looking for excuses to make it!
Don’t let this picture scare you- most of these ingredients are going in the food processor You will need one Cornish hen per adult, and I try to find ones that are about 1.5lbs. A Cornish hen is just a fancy name for a broiler chicken. It tastes just like a roasted chicken but each person will get their own, so it is a lot of fun to serve for special occasions. To season the chicken you just need some salt, pepper, garlic powder, butter and the zest of one lemon. For the Salsa verde, you need fresh tarragon, fresh parsley, fresh basil, chives, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Also, make sure you have some kitchen twine to tie up the hens.
Start by seasoning both sides of the hens with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Make sure to season the inside of the hen as well
Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon over the top of each hen and then place the lemon half inside each hen.
Carefully tie the legs together with kitchen twine. A simple knot will do just fine. This will ensure that the legs don’t burn.
Place another piece of twine around the wings just to keep everything together.
Mix together the zest of one lemon and room temperature butter
Spread the butter evenly over the top of each hen. Place the hens in a 450 degree oven for 5-10 minutes until the skin turns golden brown. Then reduce the heat to 350 and cook for another 40 minutes until the hens are cooked through.
Start the salsa verde by preparing the herbs. This salsa verde is really just a mixture of Spring herbs and you can use any ones that you like. For this one, the main flavor will be from the tarragon. I love the bright fresh flavor of tarragon, but if you don’t like it, you can skip it.
Add the garlic, tarragon, basil, parsley and chives to a food processor
Blend the herbs until they are chopped.
Transfer the chopped herbs to a bowl and add in the oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper
Toss everything together, cover and set aside while the hens finish cooking. You can also make the salsa verde the night before.
When the hens finish cooking, pull them out of the oven, cover with foil and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Spoon the salsa verde over the hens and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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