Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sunny Anderson: Butterflied Cornish Hens with Sage Butter

Around this time of year you're getting really tired of turkey and ham.  Turkey and ham.  Turkey and ham.  But there's still one more celebration to go.  And burgers aren't on the menu.  So what do you do?  You reach for those tiny little chickens that make you feel special.  I mean, who doesn't feel special with their very own little hen sitting on their plate?  And even better if it's covered in bacon and butter, right?  Because I think you can gain a couple more pounds before tomorrow morning and the ugliness that is New Year's resolutions.

Butterflied Cornish Hens with Sage Butter
From Sunny Anderson

4 (1¾-pound) Cornish game hens, butterflied
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
5 to 7 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for sauteing
4 strips bacon, chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place hens on a sheet tray fitted with a cooling rack in the refrigerator to dry skin out for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium heat, melt butter with sage, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Remove hens from refrigerator. Preheat 2 large sauté pans over medium heat, lightly coat with oil. Season hens with salt and pepper and sear, skin side down, in the pans. Sear until skin caramelizes and turns golden brown and crispy, about 7 to 10 minutes. Flip birds over, and baste with sage butter. Sprinkle tops with chopped bacon and place in preheated oven to finish cooking, 25 to 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings

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