I used to be afraid of cooking with whole chickens. Somehow, I always imagined it as a convoluted process of cleaning out the inside, stuffing it, marinating it and roasting it in the oven, while precariously controlling the tenderness of the meat or crispiness of the skin. Alas, there is a more simple way to eat a whole chicken! Today, I want to share my favorite way of cooking cornish hen- stewing.
It’s delightfully simple how stewing the hen in plain old water and some ginger and salt could bring out so much natural flavor of the chicken. The broth will taste infinitely better and less salty than store bought chicken stock. I added sweet potatoes and radishes to mix up the flavor a bit. My fiance was the one who introduced me to stewing chicken and butternut squash together. Sweet potato is a similar concept along those lines and brings out an extra sweetness to the broth. You could also potentially add shiitake mushrooms, which will add a savory kick. But don’t get too crazy with adding extra ingredients such as carrots or celery. Less is more- that mantra applies here. We simply want the natural flavor of chicken to dominate this soup. Don’t worry about over cooking the chicken either. This simmering method ensures super-tender-pull-apart chicken every single time. It will never fail you.
Now, welcome back to eating simply.
Cornish Hen Stew with Sweet Potato
- 1 whole cornish hen
- 1 Tbsp cooking sherry
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
- 1 radish, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 slices of ginger
- green onions, sliced thinly
- cumin and cayenne powder, 1 tsp each
Boil a large pot of water with ginger slices. Put in the cornish hen when water is boiled. Add cooking sherry or rice wine.
After water comes to a boil again, turn down the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add cumin and cayenne powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In 20 minutes, you will see brownish bubbles and debris that float on top (it’s blood from the chicken). Skim them away with a spoon.
At the 30 minute mark, add sweet potato and radish chunks. Keep simmering.
At 1 hr, turn off the heat. Add green onions on top and cover the lid again. Add sesame seeds on top if desire. Let all the aromas mingle and mix. Enjoy!