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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 - 2 hours. 

Braising casserole                     Savoy Cabbage


1 Cornish hen (fresh or frozen)
1 small head of Savoy cabbage
cup dry, white wine
4 - 6 TBS olive oil
6-8 cippolini onions
6-8 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt, pepper, dried thyme, Herbes de Provence

Cippolini                      Maui                 White Boiling

Cook the onions separately so they retain their own unique sweetness.  If cippolini onions are not available, you could use Maui onions or white boiling onions (as a last resort).  
Yellow (Spanish) onions or large white onions would not be suitable.  

Cooking the Hen and Cabbage:

  1. If you are using a frozen hen, begin by first defrosting it for 3-4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  3. Remove any dark green, coarse outer leaves surrounding the Savoy cabbage.  Wash it, remove the center core and cut it into 1" slices.
  4. Spread the sliced cabbage evenly in the casserole dish, sprinkle with1/2 cup white wine and 2 TBS olive oil.  Cover and braise for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the Cornish hen:  wash and dry thoroughly with a paper towel; rub the skin with 2 TBS of olive oil and sprinkle with Herbes de Provence.
  6. After the cabbage has wilted, add the prepared Cornish hen, cover the casserole tightly and bake at 300 F for 2 hours.  (There is no need to turn the hen while cooking.  It is better not to open the lid of the casserole in order to keep in the cooking steam.)

Cooking the Onions:

  1. Peel the onions, keeping them whole.
  2. 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.)

  3. 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.

  4. Braise in the same oven as the hen for 1 1/2 hours.

  5. 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.



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