Monday, May 9, 2011

Little Kittens and Saffron Scented Cornish Hens

When our daughter Julia was a little girl, around 8 or 9 years old, she arrived home from school one day and as was her habit, asked what we were having for dinner.

I replied, "Cornish Hens". Confused, she asked me what Cornish Hens were. I replied, "Oh, they're little chickens", to which she started to cry and told me she would never eat that.

I reminded her that she liked chicken.

Through tears she agreed, yes, she liked chicken but there was no way she was eating dinner tonight.

She thought I had said, "They're little kittens" instead of "little chickens".

I was reminded of the Little Kittens story as I was preparing last night's dinner.

From that day forward we always called Cornish Hens, "Little Kittens"

Little Kittens (or more commonly known as Saffron Scented Cornish Hens) serves two to four, depending on appetite size.

Two Rock Cornish Hens
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
freshly ground pepper
Two tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Wash and pat dry the hens. Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine the saffron threads, ginger and salt.

Rub the skin and under the skin on the breast meat the saffron / salt / ginger mixture. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Or prepare the rotisserie. (I prefer the rotisserie, especially at this time of year).

If you are using the oven, place a rack over a rimmed cookie sheet. Place the hens breast side down, brush with butter and roast 20 minutes per pound, turning breast side up half way through and brushing breasts with butter.

If you are using a rotisserie, arrange the hens on the skewer, place on rotisserie and brush all over with butter, basting every ten minutes until cooked through.

I served the hens with steamed asparagus (the first of the season), tri-colored couscous and lots of memories.

If you are serving four people, simply split the hens in half and serve breast side up.


  1. Looks good, Linda. Don't think I could eat kittens either. LOL!
    Hope you had a good Mother's Day.

  2. That was a cute story Linda. I sure have been missing you. Hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring so far. NC has had some angry weather but for the most part it has been wonderful. I love Cornish hens and this one really looks great. Thanks.

  3. I've always wanted to get Cornish hens but my husband always says no and that he wouldn't like them........I want to try them though, shouldn't they taste just like chicken?

  4. Wendy - I would not eat kittens either!

    Odie - I've been in a private, reflective mood these past few weeks, but I'm still here and still cooking!

    Rebecca - Cornish hens do taste like chicken, but more delicate. They are delicious and because of their very mild flavor take well to all kinds of seasonings. And they cook FAST!

  5. Little kittens ..... I can just imagine what picture was in her head! Food brings such great memories.

  6. Oh my gosh, how traumatizing for her. She probably wondered what happened that you would cook little kittens. I would definitely have to pass on those too!

  7. Oh, that must have been so upsetting for her. These cornish hens look fab! Thanks for the great recipe. Happy (belated) Mother's Day!

  8. Thank you for sharing such a cute story (and a really good recipe). Thinking of you and sending peace up north to you. Take care of yourself.

  9. This is so adorable. I'm going to link to it (and the more recent post) on Saturday.

  10. I'm thinking there isn't much meat on a kitten. Have you ever seen one soaking wet?

    Your Cornish hens look delicious though.

  11. Little children, amazing what comes out of their mouths and what goes into there ears!


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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