Introduction: [Collegiate Meals] Toaster Oven Cornish Hens
The local grocer had, for $2 each, frozen Cornish Rock Hens - for $2!! Now, I do have an oven - a real one in fact. But if you're dorming, you might not have one easily accessible (I sure didn't). And being an energy wise tight wad, it seemed rather superfluous to use a large oven for such a small item.
Step 1: Ingridients
You will need
Butter (to coat)
Sufficiently tall toaster oven (see below)
As I discovered, my toaster uses the top heating element in oven mode. This being the case, nothing can touch the heating element. You'll need the thermometer to make sure you have a proper cooking temperature too - my oven goes from 330 to 420 at one point on the knob. It's better to cook longer at a lower temperature than cook too fast and burn the outer bits...
Now, if your toaster isn't quite tall enough - don't fret! You can butterfly your hen by cutting out the backbone and roasting the hen "unwrapped." Cooking time will be slightly reduced with this method.
Step 2: Preparation
Start off by calibrating your toaster - aka, stick a thermometer in there, set the oven to 350 an see if it maintains 350. If it fluctuate, that's okay - but just as long as it doesn't go up to 450 and never come back down. You'll be surprised how inconsistent the heat is - but don't get too worried (toaster's don't have much mass to hold an even thermal load).
So, set toaster ovens to 350ish.
Rinse Hens and dry.
Peel back the skin (but do not remove) and pour some pineapple juice inside - pour some juice in the cavity as well. Rub butter into the skin and lightly salt. Place on a pan.
Step 3: Roast
Place hen in toaster.
If you're using a meat probe (like me) roast until internal temperature reaches 165F. If you don't have a meat probe, cook until juices run clear (stick a knife in). In a normal oven, this takes about 30-45 minutes. In a toaster oven, it will be on the higher end of that scale.
If you're cooking more than one hen, in the toaster, it may take longer. As I recall - cooking two hens took about an hour.
Step 4: Serve
Serve whole with vegetables on the side. Broccoli, for example, works well. And if you're in a dorm and can't boil/steam water - you can cook it in a coffee maker.
If you want to give your skin a golden brown crust - crank up the heat in the oven for the last few minutes - just be cautious to prevent burns.
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