One of the things that I sometimes face as a chef is fear. When given something that I am not entirely familiar with, I sometimes worry and get flustered as to what I will make and more importantly: how it will turn it and taste. My wife purchased two Cornish hens from the grocery store, as they were on sale. They were cleaned and about a pound and a half each. I can't really describe it, as I think my fear was based upon one experience I had with a 'young chicken'. The 'young chickens' at the grocery store, are frozen, and the organs are cut but still in the cavity of the bird. Well, my first time breaking apart the bird and I find this bag of things that I wasn't sure about: it just threw my whole pattern off. I instantly got nervous and had to stop and calm down and think about what I was doing. Also, when cooking I was always worried as to if I didn't cook it long enough or too long and it would be inedible. For most people, money isn't a big thing, but for us, wasting money is not good. So in the case of the hens, I didn't want that money to go to waste and wanted to make sure I got the most out of those birds.
So, what did I do? I did the easy method. I set the oven to 350 degrees and no hotter since this night that I was cooking was still in the 90's outside and it was 8pm. I cleaned the hens in warm running water, and placed them in a pan with some melted butter, on high heat. The heat helped to quickly brown the outside skins, but didn't do much else. I then placed them both in a cooking pan, sprinkled salt and pepper inside, outside and then chopped up some onions, carrots and celery and laid it around the birds. I also grabbed some fresh oregano, thyme and sage and stuffed that into the cavity of the birds as well.
After 1 hour in that oven, it smelled wonderful. I did get the most out of the birds as there was about an inch of perfect chicken stock in the pan as well. I have to boil that down for chicken soup, but the hens looked tasty.
Now, for the future, I will follow these steps as they will help me in the future to not be afraid of new ingredients or poultry. If you want more info on this recipe and what I did, ask me and I'll get right back to you.