rosemary and lemon cornish hens with roasted broccoli and cheddar cauliflower “mashed potatoes”

I like a thing that’s a miniature version of the original thing:

* Puppies
* Personal Shakers for a Cocktail
* The Mini Cooper

…….

* Puppies

So when I started to cook these cornish hens instead of roasted chicken, I realized what little work I really needed to do in comparison. Choose veggies as a side and you’re basically done before you even get started.

Little cornish hens are the perfect size for one person, need almost no prep and are virtually fool-proof. These came in a package of two for around six dollars. We love, love, love roasted broccoli florets in toasted sesame seed oil (trust me, it does make a difference) and roasted cauliflower faux “mashed potatoes”.

I have another recipe for cornish hens Cornish Hens with soup and veggies, where I added additional citrus to the flavoring. For this, I just used lemon and omitted the soup.

You Will Need:

* Cornish Hens

* Broccoli Florets (I like the baby ones for this, but any size is fine)

* Cauliflower Florets

* Cheese (Pre-shredded or shred your own, we chose sharp cheddar)

* Dried Rosemary

* Salt and Pepper (I try to always use my smoked sea salt)

* Lemon (one per bird)

* Zester (unless you don’t care)

* Toasted Sesame Seed Oil (always get the sesame oil that’s toasted)

* Olive Oil

* Mayo

* A Pastry Brush or Gloves

* A Mixer or Potato Masher

I like to roast my veggies first while I prep everything else. We have the Breville Mini (there’s that word again) Convection Oven and an Air Fryer. This cook time is with the mini convection oven. On a baking sheet (or in this case, a roasting pan), place your veggies and then drizzle them with the sesame oil. My veggies were both frozen and it didn’t matter; they will still roast beautifully. Put them in the oven on 400 degrees and cook them for 40 minutes (if they were just broccoli, 30 mins – not frozen – would have been fine. Regardless if frozen or not, cauliflower seems to need the 40 mins always so, because they’re part of this I cooked the whole pan on 400 for 40 mins).

When they are done, pull them out and immediately season with salt and pepper. The seasonings stick better when the veggies are still hot. Go ahead and sneak a taste… you’ll see what I mean about the toasted sesame seed oil…

While the veggies were in the oven, prep your birds. Put out three bowls. One bowl has the rosemary, salt and pepper with a spoon so you can sprinkle all over the birds, another bowl put the lemon juice and olive oil and in the last bowl put the lemon zest. You don’t have to zest your lemons but there’s so much flavor and nutrients you’ll be missing out on if you don’t. If you don’t care to use the zest for this meal, or even all of it at once, put it aside in ice cubes with some water to flavor your drinks or in a sealed container.

For the olive oil and lemon juice, squeeze one lemon per bird into the bowl and a pour of one count of olive oil total.

Over the sink, open each bird. You’ll find a bag inside the body of the bird to throw away and there will be some juices. Keep the bag to make sure you read the recommended cooking time on the back of the package. Cut off any “undesirable” portions, and then rinse the birds inside and out quickly with some cold water.

Place the birds upside down in the baking sheet (my pan has edges that are a bit higher than a regular cookie sheet because I want them to sit in the lemon and olive oil. I suggest you do the same; find a casserole dish if you don’t have a roasting pan like this where you can just remove the top and use the deep pan to set them in.

First, with a spoon or a pastry brush, put some of your lemon olive oil all over the underside of the birds. If you have on gloves, just use your hands. Then, put the dried rosemary, salt and pepper everywhere you can, making sure to leave some for the rest of the hens. Don’t forget the insides! Flip over the birds and do the same thing. The remaining lemon olive oil just pour in the pan.

Most cornish hen bags will state to cook on 350 for an hour. I cook on 350 for an hour and twenty minutes; I like them a bit browner. You decide, but this is what I recommend and they do still stay juicy.

We used sharp cheddar for our faux “mashed potatoes” because that’s what we had and I think if we were to try something else we would have used shredded gouda. I think that would have also worked well.

Another “mini” thing I like is the Cuisinart Mini Food Processor. I had the massive one that felt like I was lifting a flailing toddler onto the counter every time.

Never again!

I have three of these mini food processors; they’re so handy and they hold four cups of food. Plenty.

Start by throwing in some cauliflower, then the mayo (please real mayo… not low calorie or low fat, and certainly not organic. Even organic has one of the first if not the first ingredients as soybean oil. Get the avocado oil based mayo OR, make your own: lemon, olive oil and egg yolks). Throw in some cheese. You will not be told by me how much of each to use; you need to taste this as you go. Everyone is different in what they like! The mayo will help with the consistency but you may want to add more or a bit of that sesame oil…

TIP: I added the sesame seed oil that was in the pan from roasting the veggies.

When the hens are done if you’re not ready to eat just then, everything that is already hot can be kept warm in the oven on 150 degrees. If you need to reheat the veggies first, they do just fine being reheated in the microwave. One of our favorite ways to eat the cauliflower however, is reheated on 350 in the oven in a casserole dish (or individual ramekins) with some more cheese sprinkled on top.

The wine we chose to use came from Dry Farms Wine. We ordered through them online because they have sugar free and sulfate free wines that are very low carb and have no additional chemicals.

And I thought this one had a very fitting label:

I decided it would be easiest to have this plated buffet style.

Grab some food, a glass and the bottle, and we were off into the other room for a movie:

Below you will find the table-setting for this meal: The napkins and napkin rings are from Pier 1. The plates and platter are from Crate and Barrel. The trivet is from Sur la Table. The wine glasses are Riedel. The silverware and serving pieces are Napoleon Bee.

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