Welcome back to Bookmarked. In this weekly series, I bookmark things I covet while sharing alternatives I can actually attain in the meantime. This is the small bird edition.
I have a fuzzy but delicious memory of eating stuffed cornish hens as a kid, and feeling like it was impossibly exciting to get an entire bird to yourself. Fast forward 20 years or so, and the idea of serving stuffed personal hens still feels indulgent, festive, and probably the perfect addition to a Christmas menu. I mean, check this recipe out! Don't you just want to throw on a holiday sweater, light some tapers, and dig in??
Here's the problem, though… I've never made these before and it seems like there's a pretty high likelihood I'll mess it up. Do cornish hens get tough? Would I overcook them? Is the preparation of the bird the same as a chicken? Seems like a decision that should not be given the added pressure of a holiday, so I'm going to bookmark this and make it later for a "why not!" kind of meal. In fact, it might make for a great at-home Valentine's Day feast.
In the meantime, I'll take on a more manageable small bird recipe. Sometimes apps are considered festive and elegant the more frou frou they are. You're eating anchovy ricotta puffs when really all you want are some chicken tenders. Here's a recipe that is easy, delicious, and just cute enough that it might pass for holiday-worthy. The recipe is so simple — and appetizers are low-risk — so this shouldn't add to any seasonal stress. Maybe you could serve with fun decorative toothpicks like these to take this still further from the realm of bar food.
What are your favorite small bird recipes?