In the eight years we’ve known one another, Jason and I have never been big supporters or celebrants of Valentine’s Day.
It probably began with the fact that I’d had way too many disappointing combined Birthday/Valentine experiences before I met him, and he was just too willing to go along with my obvious indifference.
But even now, being in love, we frequently see that the holiday in many ways is one of fabrication. It prompts even happily single people to feel unnecessarily sad to be “alone” and it applauds singular displays of love, which are often notably missing from the rest of the year.
Sure, it’s nice to have a day to celebrate the people you love, but shouldn’t that be every single day? Shouldn’t we measure love like the musical Rent? And I quote: In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee… in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. [We know you loved our reference. Don’t lie.]
Love is not just reserved for one day a year devoted to the over-commercialization of the color red and heart-shaped candies. It should be the driver of every single day. Every day should be filled with heart and generosity and praise and admiration and all the things that make someone feel special and wanted, whether that’s your significant other, your best friend, or your mom.
Call us fuddy duds and Hallmark holiday killjoys, but that’s just how we roll.
And that’s how we decided to celebrate the holiday: to treat it like any other day. A day filled, as always, with joyful fun, abundant love, and a delicious meal. The fact that we just so happened to choose two “lovebird”-themed Cornish Hens as our main entrée was pure happenstance, we swear.
We loved cooking this highly-caloric yet incredibly satisfying meal together and would encourage anyone to recreate it for a special someone who deserves an extra helping of love, whether on Valentine’s Day or a regular ol’ day of the week. [Warning: there is a strong chance that it will also rekindle your love for cream…it sure did for Jason!]
“Lovebird” Cornish Hens
- 2 cornish hens
- 1 lemon
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh oregano
- 1/2 c. olive oil, plus additional for sautéeing
- 1/2 c. white wine
- 4 T. butter
- 2 c. rice
- 1 c. heavy whipping cream
- 3 c. water
- 1 container mushrooms, chopped or sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large sauce pot, sautée the garlic and shallot in a drizzle of olive oil until translucent. Add the rice and cook until slightly toasted, mixing frequently.
- Add cream, water, and mushrooms into the pot. Bring to a boil then cover and put on lowest heat setting for about 20 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, prep the birds by carefully stretching out the skin from the meat. [This will provide extra room for stuffing ingredients under the skin and ensure that the skin gets nice and crispy — just be careful not to rip the skin.]
- Rub the exteriors of the hens with olive oil and slide a few slices of butter along with several rosemary and oregano leaves underneath the skin. Salt and pepper the outside.
- Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
- Once the rice is finished, fluff with a fork and transfer 3/4 c. of it to a small bowl to cool. [We will be stuffing the chickens with it and don’t want the chickens to start cooking from the heat of the rice!]
- Once cooled, drop a few spoonfuls of the rice inside the chicken. Add a sprig of rosemary and seal with a lemon wedge. Tie the legs together with twine or thin strips of cheesecloth to ensure everything stays in place.
- Arrange the chickens on a roasting rack and cook in the oven at 375-degrees for about 45 minutes. Raise the temperature to 450-degrees and cook an additional 30 to 45 minutes until a meat thermometer reads between 165 and 180-degrees. Combine olive oil and white wine and baste birds with the mixture every 15 minutes to promote crispiness.
Serve with rice and a green of your choosing. We chose asparagus, because we eat that stuff like candy. Here’s how you make it:
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1 lemon
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Rinse and cut bottoms off of asparagus and spread out on a cookie sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and place with in the oven with lemon wedges.
- Roast for 20 – 25 minutes at the tail end of the chicken roasting.