Giverny's water garden
I told Larry not to get used to my cooking every night; as of next week, I’ll be back on a very tough schedule, and this will end. But today, at home with gray skies and cold temps, I decided to get busy in the kitchen. I had some left over homemade cornbread from the weekend (my favorite scratch recipe that uses buttermilk and real butter) and I had some light bread getting stale, so I made my own stuffing; with dried herbs from my own garden (sage, rosemary, basil and oregano) this proved to be quite a feast. I also added an apple, some onion, and celery, all chopped by hand. But for the piece de resistance
, I also decided to open the apple liqueur I bought at Giverny in 2005 while in France. Giverny is the home of the French impressionist, Claude Monet. I toured his home there and the gardens, which are preserved by a trust. The liqueur is the perfect thing to add to the pan, instead of the usual sherry, for a delicious apple flavor.
I moistened the dressing before stuffing the hens, by adding a bit of cream of celery soup (the fat free version) and stirring well. The hens were cooked in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes; the last half hour I took the cover of the roasting pan off to allow the hens to brown. I also measured the temperature of the hens internally, before serving – to make certain they were cooked thoroughly and had reached 180 degrees.
Here are some photos of the cooking:
Chopping the apple
I used my Cuisinart 11 food processor to process the cornbread and light bread into small crumbs.
After chopping the dried rosemary, sage, basil and oregano in the food processor, I put it through a sieve so the stems wouldn't get in the dressing.
The moistened stuffing is ready to put in the hens.
The hens are ready for the oven. I drizzled some fine olive oil on top, and dusted some smoked paprika on the skins.
The liqueur. I have to say this will be best for cooking. It has a strong flavor. It would also make a good apple sour. But not that great straight.
The finished hens are succulent, with a hint of apple. I served these with baked sweet potato and a green salad with crumbled Danish blue cheese and Otts dressing. Yum!