What the hell is a cornish hen and why are they not more popular? At least not in the parts of North America I’ve been to, and that’s Los Angeles and Vancouver. The cornish hen they sell at supermarkets is a hybrid chicken, a cross between two chicken species and I’m gonna guess that one of them is really tiny. A cornish chicken tastes pretty much like chicken, no surprise there right? but it’s a lot smaller. About half the size, maybe smaller than that. They cook at the same temperatures a regular chicken does so no extra training required.
Why aren’t they more popular…. no idea, maybe they are, but not where I’ve been. I guess yield is probably a factor, and also price, they tend to be a little more expensive per pound. Anyways, it was ridiculously good. I will be making this in the future for sure. If you wanna know how I prepared it, keep on reading! … oh, and happy 4th of July, US of A!
Ingredients (serves 2, although I ate the whole thing myself):
1 Cornish Hen
2 Tbsp Sea Salt
The Brine. Dissolve the salt and water in a pot. You could boil it and then let it cool in the fridge before using. Place the hen in a plastic container big enough to allow the hen to fit and a lid to cover it. I use those cheap ziplock ones they sell at the store. Fill the container with the saline solution and seal it with the lid. Place in the fridge and allow to brine overnight, or about 12 hours.
Sous Vide the Hen. Place the whole hen in a plastic bag. Add water to the bag. I know… some people don’t like this approach. I just want to ensure that the thorax cavity doesn’t remain dry, bacteria could reproduce. Some people would suggest oil instead of water. Sure, go crazy. I don’t like throwing away that much oil and there’s really no harm in using water. There might be a slight flavour loss, but worth the savings. Anyways, Sous vide for 3 hours at 62.3C or 144F
Deep fry the hen. Once sous vide’ed. Dry with paper towels. Heat up your deep fryer to 375F. Wish mine would go hotter like to 400 at least. If you don’t have a deep fryer you could simply pan fry the hen on the stove. Before frying, cut the hen in half. Makes it a lot easier to handle, and perfect serving size too. Deep fry for about 7 mins until the skin is crispy and golden. Remove from the deep fryer and allow to rest about 10 mins before serving.
Plate the hen. Each half on a separate plate. Drizzle with yellow mustard or your favourite bbq sauce and go to work. Enjoy.