Last minute lady

Cornish Game Hens “Paprikash”

I love paprika, all kinds.  I love smoky, sweet and hot.  I love Hungarian and I especially love this one I have been using recently from Spain (I actually stole it from Rach one day), pictured here and available at Dean and Deluca:

Paprika really is just dried and finely ground pepper, which can vary from sweet to hot, just as peppers do.  In Spain it is called Pimenton and you have all different varieties just as you would in Hungary, where paprika is a major export.  Pimenton and paprika are so well-cultivated in these countries that they have even started to point out the place of origin on the packaging.  See in this jar of Spanish pimenton above where it says Denominacion de Origen, which authenticates this as being real pimenton and really from La Vera.

A spice market in Spain, selling different kinds of pimenton.

I have found multiple uses for paprika and since the flavor is so distinct, it is not forgiving.  Too much can make a dish too hot or too bitter and added to the wrong ingredients sometimes just doesn’t go well together.  I do like it in certain chili recipes and most recently I have been tinkering with Chicken Paprikash. Last night, however, I found a quicker and easier way to make a version of this favorite dish of mine, which uses Cornish Game Hens instead of chickens.  It makes for an elegant presentation and cooks rather quickly and easily.

Cornish Game Hens Paprikash with Roasted Veggies

adapted from epicurious.com

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, your choice which kind.  If using sweet or smoky, you can add a pinch of cayenne as well.  If using hot, then don’t add any other heat
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Cornish Game Hens
  • whatever veggies you have around that you like to roast, cut into cubes or chunks.  Good examples are carrots, onions, brussels sprouts, winter squash, shallots, parsnips, and beets, about 2-3 cups in total
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried dill weed

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl, mix the oil, paprika and salt.  Toss in the veggies and then lift out with a slotted spoon and spread onto a large baking dish, leaving the remaining sauce behind.  Stick the veggies in the oven for 40 minutes.  Immediately after putting the veggies in the oven, add the hens to the bowl and toss around in the remaining sauce.  If there isn’t enough, make more.

After 40 minutes of roasting time, give the veggies a stir and then plop the hens on top of the veggies and stick back into the oven for another hour.  Feel free to check on the hens after a half hour to baste them or turn the pan.

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and dill.

Remove the hens to a plate and stir the sour cream mixture in with the veggies.  Serve alongside the hens.

Rosemary Maggiore is our Last Minute Lady. A single mom of two kids plus a full time job (she runs this website!) keep her busy and usually pushing things to the last minute. Somehow she manages to keep her cool and her sanity while she enjoys good food, wine, friends and most importantly, family.

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