Braised Cornish Hen
with Savoy Cabbage and Cippolini Onions
One hen serves 2
|Braising is a very slow cooking method, using a small amount of liquid in the
bottom of the braising dish. Since it doesn't require much attention
once the braising dish is put into the oven, it makes an ideal
Sunday Supper, when spending 2-3 hours in the kitchen is not what you would like to
do. Cornish hen is particularly good braised.
Use a deep casserole dish (with a lid) that will hold a 2"
layer of cabbage on the bottom and a small Cornish hen on top. Savoy cabbage
is better in this recipe than regular cabbage because it's sweeter and compliments the sweetness of the Cornish hen.
The hen will be fragrant and the meat will falls off the bone. Total cooking time is about 2 - 2½ hours.
Cooking the Hen and Cabbage:
Cooking the Onions:
With the point of a sharp knife, make a small "x" incision on the top and bottom (center) of each onion. (This prevents the inner layers from "shooting" during cooking.)
Arrange the onions in one layer in a shallow baking dish (preferably ceramic, not metal). Drizzle 2-3 TBS olive oil over the onions and lightly sprinkle with dried thyme leaves. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Braise in the same oven as the hen for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove from the oven, carefully remove the foil and sprinkle each onion with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Re-cover the baking dish with the foil and continue to braising for 30 minutes.
At the end of the 2-hour braising time, the hen should be moist and the meat will easily fall away from the bone; the cabbage at the bottom should be juicy and tender, having absorbed all the cooking juices from the hen; and the onions should be fork-tender. If the hen and/or onions are not tender, continue to cooking for 15 minutes longer.
When they are done:
Cut the hen in half (to make two servings), using kitchen scissors or poultry shears.
Spread a layer of cabbage on the bottom of a warm shallow bowl (a bouillabaisse bowl is ideal).
Arrange half the hen on top of the cabbage and scatter the onions around the sides.
Drizzle the remaining cooking juices from the casserole dish on top of the hen and cabbage.
A fresh Beaujolais, slightly chilled, is a prefect wine for this Sunday Supper.