Poussin (Cornish hens) make a great and very easy alternative to turkey on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving. Instead of cooking a turkey for hours and hours they take about 45 minutes to an hour. The meat is much more delicate and juicy than turkey, which can be dry and tough, and the bay leaves give them an amazing flavour. The ancient Romans always flavoured their meat simply with bay leaves and I can see why, it’s the perfect flavour and the meat will be subtly perfumed by the bay. Also if you are new to cooking, this recipe is far less daunting and more manageable than a turkey which requires a lot more time and attending to. I really love this recipe and it’s great with my cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, maple roasted root vegetables, brussel sprouts, red cabbage and all the trimmings.
Poussin (1 per person)
A glug of olive oil
Fresh bay leaves (a few per bird)
There really isn’t anything as delicious and comforting as a home made mince pie that’s still warm from the oven. It’s totally evocative of Christmas with the smell of all the spices, dried fruit and brandy. These mince pies are totally vegetarian and don’t use beef suet or the unethical palm oil which are in most shop bought mince meat jars and mince pies. They are easy to make, you use shop bought pastry if you can’t, like me, be bothered to make it and because the filling is so good, no one will notice. They are fun to make with kids too as they can decorate the top their way. I use a Christmas tree cookie cutter, but there are lots of different Christmas themed cookie cutters you could use.
You can use other root vegetables for this recipe like sweet potato, but I use carrots and parsnips because I love them. The maple syrup makes them sweet and sticky which work really well with the flavours of the carrots and parsnips. They also become soft on the inside and sticky and crunchy-ish on the outside, which as you know is always a great combo in my book. I don’t peel the parsnips and carrots as I think all the flavour and fibre are in the skin, and life’s too short.
1 kg of assorted root vegetables
3 tablespoons of olive oil
5 tablespoons of maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste