ffwd – olive-olive cornish hens

Spatchcocked Mini-Chooks. That’s my new name for these little darlings. Better than poussin en crapendine. I wasn’t really bonding with a name quite like that.  Besides, unlike Dorie, I kind of think that the idea of spatchcocking something sounds fairly fun. Like maybe there are some shenanagins involved. And once they are in the oven, there’s even a bit of time for lollygagging. I might make these again soon, just to get to use the word again!

OK, we have a wonderful family friend who (I was told by a reliable source – my mother) makes a mean tapenade. I decided to depart a bit from Dorie’s just for fun. I’ve been meaning to make Karyl’s for a while and hadn’t gotten to it. When I realized that I had not one, not two, but three jars of kalamata olives in the pantry, I thought – hey, it’s about time you made that!!! So, after finding the recipe again, I was a little enchanted by it, and was happy that I had made my choice.

Very much like Dorie’s recipe, there were a few little differences in the one I was using – and luckily, everything on hand. Olives, capers, lemon, olive oil, anchovy paste and seasonings.

And here’s the really charming part – the recipe calls for 20 (not 19 or 21) olives. Who could resist something like that???

The ingredients are either chopped and mixed, or put together quickly in a food processor. As easy as can be!

Once that’s ready, it’s quick work for the hens.

 I just cut the backbone out with some kitchen shears. Then flatten them out – I guess, they do look kind of like toads! I was skeptical about the tapenade… I didn’t know if the flavor combination would be great. I was kind of (?) relieved that it only called for 1 teaspoon per bird (though wondered about making all of that for 2 t – I guess it’s time to get creative – because it’s tasty!). Of course, that presented its own challenge, since I ended up using a fair number of spoons, since I didn’t want to contaminate my tapenade… not the best planning on my part – but it all worked out!

The hens were very quickly ready for the oven, with their seasonings and lemon juice. I was already cooking some garnet yams, so stuck with a bit lower oven temperature, so I popped them into the oven at 450 degrees.  True to Dorie’s word, they only took about a half-hour, even at that temperature. The skin was nicely browned and crispy, and the meat perfectly cooked, juicy and tender.

I was pleased that the flavors worked so nicely (and since I love capers, I thought they added a nice element). This was such an fast preparation, that it made for a very quick, easy meal, as long as you have your hens defrosted ahead of time. Definitely something I’d make again.

6 thoughts on “ffwd – olive-olive cornish hens

  1. Your hens look delicious! I like the little hedgehog looking over your plate. I will have to try these with home made tapenade, as my purchased tapenade was a little too mild.

  2. Shenanigans! Lollygagging! Those are great words, too. This was a great recipe and your friend’s tapenade sounds like a winner.

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