The hens featured on this post were in preparation for the dinner we filmed. I usually don't mind trying new recipes for dinner parties, but I'd like to give the main a course a test run. For the actual dinner party, I roasted two large chickens, French-style. What does this mean? Well, according to me, French-style means with herbs de provence. Not the pre-made stuff you buy at the store, but the stuff you make at home, with pre-made ingredients you buy at the store.
To be on the safe side, a week before our dinner, we tested roasting cornish game hens, French-style. And we loved them. So we assumed our guests would also love the chickens. We were right. Both birds were juicy with subtle flavors of lemon and lavender. Ooo la la.
I would love to share my herbs de provence recipe with you, BUT, I just can't. I kind of make this stuff on the fly, going with my gut and how I feel that particular day. I do want to say there are great recipes online, and you can start there and improvise yourself. Along with the most common herbs and of course lavender, my version includes tarragon, fennel seeds and bay leaf.
I used the same roasting method for most of my poultry as I do for my Thanksgiving turkey -- 500 degrees first few minutes (in this case 15 to sear in the juices and get the browning going), then lower to 350 and bake until done, about 30 more minutes. I also stuffed each bird with half a lemon, onion and garlic. You can add vegetables to the pan, after you lower the temperature. In this instance we had celery root, baby potatoes and carrots, tossed with thyme and olive oil. There were also French green beans sauteed with butter, garlic and thyme. Enjoy with a tall glass of pilsner, and your favorite person!