First, on the subway ride to work last Wednesday, I read the Dining section from The Times. Wednesday is my all-time favorite day!
They had an article about how dressing or stuffing has lost its allure, except for around Thanksgiving. Well I took it to heart. And while I am nothing like my Mother, (who I dearly loved), I am my Mother’s daughter and cannot waste a thing. She grew up in the Great Depression and her father owned a grocery store. He was the butcher. They never wasted anything and she could scrape a bowl squeaky clean. And, she raised six kids, five of them boys and if any of you out there have boys, you understand the difference between feeding boys and feeding girls.
I can’t waste a thing either. David Waltuck, of Chanterelle fame, says that good cooks never do and I admit I am the same.
So last weekend, at our country house, my brother and sister-in-law came to visit. They insisted on bringing Saturday lunch which was a delicious turkey chili, cornbread and fennel salad. Everything was great and eaten, except for some of the cornbread. Then I had a baguette to make the bread and chocolate (for three nights, mind you) so I had about 1/3 of a baguette left too, plus five leftover grilled mushrooms, one grilled scallion and leftover French dry sausage. I added fresh chopped sage leaves, one raw egg, ½ cup of chicken broth, and one minced shallot sautéed olive oil. Salt and pepper were added, mixing well and turned into an ovenproof casserole. I split two Cornish hens in half, shoved a small sprig of fresh rosemary under the skin on each, plus salt and pepper. I then made a sauce of 3 TBS grainy mustard and 1/3 cup of leftover dry white wine to brush on top of the birds. I threw the whole thing in the oven, at 375 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. Tested it with a thermometer – you should reach 155 – 160 degrees on the thickest parts of the hens. Then broil the dish for 1-2 minutes to brown the birds. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
This was so delicious and did not take long – a little bit over an hour from start to finish. I served it with the carrot and parsnip puree and truly, this could be a company dinner. Different and really delicious. The dressing was moist under the chicken and crispy in the exposed areas.