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I truly believe that cornish hens get overlooked in the poultry world. These baby chickens, are a filling and inexpensive. The kale pesto is a great way to get your greens in without exactly eating them. The sweet potatoes are vegan but feel free to add a tablespoon or two of butter to take them to the next level.
Roasted Hens Cooking Tips:
Lacinato (Tuscan) kale are more tender and have a better flavor than curly kale. You can substitute walnuts or peanuts for almonds. Thaw hens, in a bowl of cold water 2-4 hours before using. After you add the milk to the sweet potatoes you may need to let more moisture cook off the potatoes so give it 1 to 2 minutes to boil off the access liquid, as you continue to mash them. You can use a potato masher instead of a fork to speed up the process.
Can you make ahead?
Freezer: Do not add pesto to the hens. After it cools, place in an freezer storage bag and keep in the freezer for 3 months max. Sweet mash and pesto do not freeze well.
Fridge: Keep pesto in an airtight container in the for up to 1 month max. Keep sweet mash in an airtight container for 7 days. Keep roasted hens, in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
You can use chickens in place of the hens. The kale pesto will cover (1) 3-4.5 lbs whole chicken. You can also use chicken thighs, breast, legs or wings too.
what to serve with Roasted Hens?
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Kale Pesto Roasted Hens with Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Baking sheet
- Food processor
- Dry measuring spoon
- Dry measuring cups
- Chef knife
- Cutting board
- 4 quart pot
- ½ bunch Tuscan kale (Lacinato kale) stemmed chopped medium
- ½ cup whole unsalted almonds
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cornish hens thawed
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
Coconut Sweet Potatoes:
- 2 medium size sweet potato peeled chopped medium
- ½ teaspoon dry thyme
- ½ cup coconut milk or nut milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cane sugar
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, turn on the heat to high in a large pot filled with water bring water to a rolling boil then add kale and blanch for 1 minute. Place the greens in a large bowl of ice water for 1 minute. Drain the water and add the kale, almonds, garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, parmesan, white vinegar to the food processor and pulse 10 times or until a green paste forms, add a tablespoon or two of water if needed.
- Pierce the hens with a fork evenly around the breasts, thighs and legs and season liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Place hens on a foiled lined baking sheet and place the pan in the center level of the preheated oven and cook for 1 hour or until hens reach 165 degrees with an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh.
- Add sweet potatoes and dry thyme to a medium pot, cover sweet potatoes with water. Turn on the heat to high bring water to a rolling boil and cook for 20 minutes. Strain sweet potatoes and place back over hot burner. Add the coconut milk, kosher salt, black pepper, cinnamon, cane sugar and garlic powder to the pot and with a fork mash the sweet potatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Remove hens from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, generously brush with the pesto over the hens and serve with sweet potatoes.