Sunday, December 28, 2008

Roasted Cornish Hens with Jasmine Rice, Cherries and Pepitas

Crispy skin, juicy meat, fragrant aromatic stuffing... what more could you want?

Roasted Cornish Hens with Jasmine Rice, Cherries and Pepitas
2 Cornish hens, trimmed of excess fat and rinsed
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds
1 tsp vanilla
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 cups of COOKED jasmine rice
4 bay leaves
salt and pepper

Season hens with salt and pepper and place 2 bay leaves into the cavity of each hen. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove hens from oven and let cool slightly. Drain off the liquid from the hens and RESERVE about ¼-1/2 cup.

Meanwhile combine the cooked rice, cherries, pumpkin seeds, vanilla nd cinnamon stick with ¼ cup of the roasted hen juices.

Fill each bird with the rice mixture after the hen’s have cooled enough to handle. Put the remaining rice into the baking dish, with the stuffed hens on top.

Return to the oven and bake at 400 degrees another 20-30 minutes.

Fresh Mozzarella and Sun-dried Tomato “Fondue”

This dip-style-dish hit the pinnacle of flavor maybe 4 hours after it was composed. OK, well, really it was good after about 30 minutes after the garlic had a chance to soften, but it really held up well over time and got progressively gooey over time.

All of the ingredients, including a ton of black pepper and really good quality evoo went into a pot which melded together on “low” and eventually “warm.” After 4 hours we had a “fondue” of sorts, perfect for scooping with crusty sliced ciabatta bread.

Don’t get me wrong; prior to the six hour mark, it was a WONDERFUL appetizer with soft, gooey mozzarella balls infused with tons of flavor from the sun dried tomatoes, garlic, and thyme.

This is one dish where the quality of your ingredients will have an impact on the outcome of the dish. It would be just as good in one of those mini-crock pots too.

Fresh Mozzarella and Sun-dried Tomato “Fondue”
¼ cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, julienned
6 cloves of garlic, cut into thirds
2 Tbsp fresh thyme
2 cups fresh mozzarella balls (small) or cut large balls into 1-2” pieces
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except the cheese in a medium sauce pan. Heat over medium-high heat until oil begins to simmer. Reduce heat to “low” or “warm” and add the cheese. Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes prior to serving. The longer it cooks the “gooier” the cheese will become.