The Twelve Days of Christmas: Three French Hens

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree

I have been insanely busy – there is just not enough time in the day for me to get everything done.  In fact, I don’t even have time to write this blog post, but I am doing so, because dammit I’m going to make time! I will finish this 12 days of Christmas even if it kills me (which, I mean, it won’t… sorry… I just felt like being dramatic).  So, questions I’m sure you’re dying to know the answers to: 1. Have I sent out my Christmas cards yet? No. But I will by Wednesday; 2. Have I finished Christmas shopping yet? No.  And I don’t want to talk about it; 3.  Have you wrapped any Christmas gifts yet? No.  Because I actually haven’t started Christmas shopping, meaning I have nothing to wrap; 4.  Have you finished your homework assignments yet? Noooooooooo.  And I am avoiding them like they are an infectious disease; 5. How’s your house looking? Dirty; 6. Is work driving you bonkers yet? Yes… when do my holidays start again??

Sheesh.  I’m tired.  I’ll be happy for this coming weekend when I can finish my baking, shopping, wrapping and cleaning.  I feel I just need a day off from my daily rustle and bustle to get myself organized.  Which brings me to this recipe… it comes with a bit of a story.  Let’s talk raw chicken.  Up until about a year ago, I could barely handle raw chicken without gagging.  I have the look, fell and smell, and I am INCREDIBLY paranoid about salmonella. So here’s what went down while trying to cook the three french hens themed recipe from my 12 days of Christmas blog post series:

Friday Night – I got home, poured myself a glass of wine, and pulled my thawed Cornish Hens out of my bag.  I had had a busy day at work, so I didn’t have much time to research how to cook cornish hens.  So, I got to work.  Remember that whole “can’t handle raw chicken or I will barf” thing?  Well once I realized that I would have to pull the chicken neck out of the body and chop part of it off, I almost had a heart attack… I started getting a little queezy, there was blood, I panicked, re-froze the hens, and ordered pizza.  I promised myself I would conquer the hens on Sunday.

Sunday – My company Christmas party was Saturday night… I spent. the day on the couch, watching movies and playing video games.  Dinner time came around and I needed grease and was no way ready to face the hens… I again, ordered pizza (please don’t judge me).

Monday Night – Okay hens, it’s on like donkey kong.  I threw together the glaze, covered the hens, and tossed in the oven.  I ignored the blood.  I made some fantastic roasted potatoes and a goats cheese and pear salad.  I meant to add some roasted pecans to the salad, but I burned them to a crisp – note: 350 F Degrees in the toaster oven is not the same as 350 F Degrees in a regular oven; well, at least not in mine.  I couldn’t save them.  The hens were done, potatoes roasted, and my belly was rumbling.  It looked really good.  In my panic, I pretty well dismembered one of the hens to make sure it was cooked.  It was.  While eating the hen, I noticed small amounts of red and pink near the bones – I called my boyfriend’s dad in a panic, asking him: 1. if I am going to live, and 2. If it’s normal?  He assured me that often game will have a little more vein around the bone and might be a little pink here and there.  As long as they juices ran clear, I should be fine.  Of course, I continued to panic – my boyfriend then began to panic.  The hens tasted REALLY good, but I couldn’t get over my fear, and after a few bites, I abandoned my hen, and moved on to my potatoes and salad –  my boyfriend made pogos.

Sooooo I don’t really know if this recipe turned out. The part of the bird that I actually ate was lovely… I really need to invest in a meat thermometer.  Anyway, the recipe is below.  Baking Fail.

french hens (9)

french hens (5)

The pear and goat’s cheese salad is pretty easy – this version had spinach, chopped pears, walnuts, and goats cheese, but my favourite way is with roasted pecans and dried cranberries.  To roast your pecans, preheat the oven to 350 F Degrees and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Don’t leave half way though and get distracted by a movie – keep an eye on them they can burn easily.  I top it with a light raspberry vinaigrette.

french hens (4)

The potatoes were very easy.  I tossed them in Kraft Sundried Tomato and Oregano salad dressing, a little EVOO, salt, pepper and garlic powder, and tossed in the oven.  I baked them for about 45 minutes at 400 F Degrees.

french hens (2)

Honey Spiced Cornish Hens

For the hens I first made the glaze. I combined 1/4 cup honey, 1/8 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 cup red wine, one whole star anise, and 1/2 cup whole black berries into a large skillet.  Bring to a boil, and then let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove the berries and star anise and let the glaze cool.  Brush the glaze on both sides of the hen and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake at 400 F degrees for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a meat thermometer read 165 F.  Let the hen sit for 10 minutes before serving (I covered mine in foil).  One hen will serve two.  You can find a version of this recipe here.    

french hens (7)

The next recipe will be better… I promise.  I feel I need mom supervision when working with whole hens/chickens/turkeys/etc., so I will ensure that Ken’s mom is around the next time I decide to attempt this.  I hope everyone is a little more organized this holiday season than I am!! Ken and I had a blast at my company Christmas party this past Saturday night.

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On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

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