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Christmas Dinner with Eunice: Cornish Game Hens, Cream-braised Brussel Sprouts, and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

December 26, 2006

Cream-braised brussels are goooood

Ah, the orphan Christmas dinner: what happens when you live 3000+ miles away from your family. This year, Eunice are decided to have Christmas dinner together since we were both going to be stranded in Boston while everyone else went away, and I spent weeks and weeks pondering how to cook a fancy Christmas dinner for two. When Will suggested cornish game hens, it made perfect sense. Then I saw this recipe from Orangette for brussel sprouts, and found out Eunice loves mashed potatoes as much as I do, and the meal was rounded out.

Cream-braised brussel sprouts seems a little over the top, I know. I mean, wasn’t bacon bad enough? But they just sounded so incredible I had to try them. Besides, after Christmas I’m going to have to halve my intake of butter and cream, or risk doubling my arse size, so why not go out with a bang?

I don’t believe I’ve ever roasted cornish game hens before, but I figure it’s much like chicken. After reading a good handful of recipes, I decided to try a dual-temperature roasting process: 15 minutes at 475F, then 30-35 at 375F.

Cornish Game Hens

  • 2 small cornish game hens
  • 3-4 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. rosemary, dried
  • 1 tsp. thyme, dried
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • a bit of lemon pepper
  • salt
  • a lemon, halved

Preheat the oven to 475F. Put everything except the hens and the lemon into a small bowl and smash it up. If you had a mortar and pestle, that would work probably better. Smear the olive oil herb mixture all over the hens, shove the lemon halves up their butts, and stick them in the oven. Wow, it couldn’t be easier. Seriously. After about 15 minutes, turn the heat down to 375, and them them roast for another 35-40 minutes. When you prick them with a fork and the juice runs clear, they are done and can be removed from the heat. Let them rest for a few minutes while you finish up everything else.

Lovely lemon stuffed hen

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I already covered perfect mashed potatoes. There are four basic steps, and if you want to add anything extra, like roasted garlic, you add it at the end. Roasting the garlic just involved cutting off the top of a head of garlic, drizzing it with a little olive oil, and putting it in the oven in a shallow dish with the hens, for about 40 minutes. When the potatoes are all mashed and creamy and happy, take the garlic out, pull the soft roasted bits out of the skins, and mix it into the potatoes. Holy yum.

Cream-braised brussel sprouts

Orangette was not kidding. These are insanely good. They were by far the star of the dinner table. We both almost had heart attacks from both the cream and the goodness. Try this at some point in your life.

  • Some brussel sprouts (I’d say we used about 1/2 a pound)
  • 3 T. butter
  • salt
  • 1 c. cream
  • a little bit of lemon juice

Melt the butter in a skillet, and throw in the sprouts, with a little bit of sea salt. Cook them for about 5 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until the brussel sprouts start to brown here and there. Add the cream (heavy cream, people, heavy cream) and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and let the sprouts sit in the simmering cream, covered, for 30-35 minutes, until the brussels are nice and soft. Then, turn the heat up, add a little squeeze of lemon, and stir it all around, so the cream thickens just a bit and coats all the brussels. Then serve it to people and watch them swoon. Chances are they will keep talking about the brussels all night long, and make those who didn’t get to eat the brussels very jealous.

This isn’t the greatest picture of our Christmas cheer, but it was a great orphan Christmas. Good times, good times.

Christmas cheer

After this filling and awesome dinner, I went to the bar and took shots. This morning, I hurt.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. you nice permalink
    December 27, 2006 11:58 am

    mmmmm, brussel sprouts…this was by far one of the best christmas’s i’ve had in years. thanks laura…you truly are an amazing cook!!

  2. jan permalink
    December 25, 2008 5:15 pm

    Christmas with Eunice was great. I made this today for Christmas dinner and I have to say I’ll do this again. The cornish hens and the brussel sprouts and garlic mashed were outstanding. Many Thanks and Merry Christmas!!!!

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