If you’re looking for an alternative to the famed and lauded turkey dinner that’s oh-so popular this time of year, look no further than this delicious and easy recipe for cornish game hens from Stanley Tucci’s delightful cookbook, The Tucci Table. (That’s right, in addition to being a Hollywood vet, he’s also a foodie like us!) Contrary to their name, these diminutive birds are not actually a game bird at all, and can be either male or female. They are simply small broiler chickens that take very little time to cook, and will delight your guests as you can offer them a serving of one per person (so fun, right?). With that special treatment, you’ll definitely make it a Friendsgiving to remember.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Season the cavities of the Cornish game hens with salt and pepper and insert half a shallot, a garlic clove, and a sage leaf into each. Place ½ tablespoon of the butter in the cavity of each bird as well. Rub the birds with the olive oil and season the breasts with salt and pepper. Place a sage leaf on the back of each bird and drape each with 3 or 4 slices of the pancetta.
- Roast for 45 to 50 minutes. Halfway through roasting, remove the pancetta from the breasts of the birds and place it beside them. Baste the birds with the roasting juices and continue to cook for the remaining time. To check if they are cooked, stab the birds in the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer. If the juice runs clear, then they are done.
- Remove the birds from the oven, together with the pancetta, and place them on a warm plate to rest. Set the roasting pan on the stove top over medium heat. When the juices in the pan begin to bubble, pour in the wine. Deglaze the pan, scraping up any residue, and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Serve with the reduced pan jus on the side.
Images via: Food Network, The Tucci Table, InterestingMedia