Everyone loves a roast chicken, and I love braised chicken even more. If you’ve never had a cornish hen or poussin as our friends over the pond like to call it is a young chicken. It is primarily white meat with very small little legs. This is great for our house because no one likes dark meat. This dinner I came up with on a bit of a whim when cleaning out the fridge. That’s usually when I find my best inspiration! This very simple dish is easy to throw together with limited ingredients.
- 1 cornish hen
- flour for coating hen
- 1-2 tsp vegetable oil for browning hen
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- 1 bell pepper (whatever color you have will work)
- 10-15 baby carrots quartered
- Any other vegetables you have on hand- zucchini or squash would be nice here too
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1-2 tbsp crushed or chopped garlic
- salt and pepper to taste (1-2 tsp each)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- rice, noodles, barley – or another grain to eat with
You will want to cook this dish in a large dutch oven, preferably heavy bottomed. I find that this is the best type of pot to use when braising and to get an even cooking.
To begin wash and clean out your cornish hen. Do not remove the skin as that will help your hen stay tender. You can always remove the skin later if you don’t like it. Pat the hen dry and then coat with flour. In a skillet large enough to hold the hen and accomodate turning it, add the oil and heat up on medium high. Place the hen in whole and turn as each side browns. This entire process will take about 15 minutes.
In the dutch oven begin the base of the dish by adding 2 tsp vegetable or olive oil, onions, and garlic. Allow to cook until onions are translucent. Cooking for a longer time on a lower temperature will cook down the onions, almost melting them. Cut up the peppers and carrots while waiting. When onions are translucent add 1/2 can (about 7-8oz) of the crushed tomato or tomato sauce. Stir and add some of the salt and pepper. Transfer the browned hen into the dutch oven.
Add the chicken broth around the hen (don’t pour it on top!) Cover and allow to cook on low to medium heat for about 1 hour. This slow cooking coupled with the steam that is created in the dutch oven from having it covered will make the meat very tender and the vegetables perfectly cooked.
You can eat this a few ways. Either simply as it is, scooped up with some bread or stand alone with a fork. Or over egg noodles, rice,or another grain. Either way it’s delicious.
**Note, you may want to adjust the salt and pepper to your desire and dietary needs. Because chicken broth often has salt in it, be careful not to overs alt this dish. Taste before serving and adjust accordingly!
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