CORNISH HEN DINNER Five-Spice Hen Crispy Noodle Salad Almond cookies or macaroons Hot tea The little Cornish hen may not have the size of its chicken brethren, but it's tasty and delicate, and it sits beautifully on any plate.
Until recently, the hens were available only in the frozen meat case and consequently required long hours of thawing. But now you can buy them fresh. This makes it all the easier to get away from the old roast-and-stuff-it routine. Zapped in bubbling hot oil, the flesh is juicy and tender. Add the sweetish flavorings of Chinese five-spice powder, plus a hint of minced ginger and garlic.
If you have a great big wok or deep-fryer large enough hold the bird covered in hot oil, cook the hens whole. Otherwise, cut the bird in half (or ask the butcher to do this for you) and fry the two halves. A half bird seems to be an ample serving for many people, particularly if you're worried about calories. The cooked hens may be kept warm in a 300-degree oven until the remaining pieces are done.
If deep-frying is too messy for you, bake the seasoned birds at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast for 40 minutes longer or until tender. We cannot guarantee the same results with this method, however.