Tuesday, November 9, 2010

No Turkey? No Problem!

If the thought of shoving a huge raw bird in your oven scares you- then we have a lot in common. Thankfully the extremely important and terrifying task of cooking the Thanksgiving centerpiece has not been given to me. As a detour from a traditional Thanksgiving, you might consider trying this incredibly tasty alternative...perfect for smaller family gatherings, or even a week night dinner if you have neighbors you want to impress!
I took this picture last Christmas Day. These birds looked and smelled amazing AND had a flavor that shouted "Compliments to the chef!"
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon-pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 Cornish game hens, about 1 1/2 pounds each, rinsed and dried thoroughly
1 green bell pepper, large dice
2 stalks celery, large dice
1 onion, large dice
4 oranges (cut and separated into sections leave the peel on)

In a small mixing bowl, stir together salt, lemon pepper, dried basil and poultry seasoning. Rub olive oil all over the hens and season each with the salt mixture. Place the hens on a baking sheet pan with plenty of space between them. You may need to use 2 pans. Loosely stuff the cavities of each hen with some green bell pepper, celery and onion and orange slices. Roast the hens in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F and the juices run clear. Remove the hens from the oven, loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before carving or serving.

TIPS: Line the baking sheet pan with foil under the wire rack for an easy clean-up. The veggies and herbs stuffed in the cavities of the hens will impart flavor to the meat as it cooks. Be sure not to crowd the hens on the baking sheets or else the skin won't crisp up properly and they will take much longer to cook.

Bon Appetit!

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