Can you smell the lovely fragrance of oregano, fennel, thyme and Pernod wafting through the air? That is my Slow Cooker Greek Cornish Hens cooking. The aroma is intoxicating and makes your mouth water in anticipation of the first bite. Oh what a first bite it is. The succulent taste of the Cornish hens will transport you to the beauty and history of Greece. You will feel like you are upon a yacht in the Mediterranean Ocean lazily sailing down the vibrant blue ocean. The water is so clear you can see all the way down to the gorgeous sand. Perhaps the sun is setting into a blaze of red and orange glory. As you near one of the Greek Islands, you can smell the wild herbs and vegetables growing. You can see the goats grazing on the green, green grass. No wonder food tastes better here with the clean air and perfect sun.
If you are thinking, Cornish hens are not enough meat for me, this recipe can easily be adapted to roasting a chicken in the oven. (See the modification at the end of the recipe) While my in-laws were visiting, I made a roasted chicken with the same ingredients but modified the liquid to make a paste. It turned out beautifully and was just as tasty as these cute little Cornish hens.
Either option would work perfectly for Easter along with my Orzo with Artichoke Lemon Pesto. The Pernod, an anise flavored liquor, is a specialty item that you may not have. You can substitute white wine for it. The fennel seed in the recipe will help to give the recipe a little bit of that anise flavor. I use to hate the taste of anise but I have come to really appreciate it when mild in flavor. This is a perfect place to provide a little boost of flavor without the overpowering flavor of black licorice.
We can’t talk about poultry without talking about leftovers. After all why make a big bird or a few small ones if you don’t have leftovers for a chicken sandwich the next day. This recipe will make the perfect chicken salad. I didn’t need to add any fresh herbs or flavorings. The meat itself is so flavorful and moist. Transport your family and yourself to Greece for Easter without anything more than a bite of my Slow Cooker Greek Cornish Hens. (or chicken)
Slow Cooker Greek Cornish Hens
3 Cornish Hens (Mine were 20 oz each)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. fennel pollen or ground fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into 9 slices
1/4 cup Pernod or white wine
1/4 cup orange juice
- In a small bowl, combine salt, thyme, oregano, fennel and pepper.
- Dry off the Cornish hens with paper towels. Sprinkle spice mixture over the hens and in the cavities.
- Place one slice of lemon into each cavity.
- Place hens in a slow cooker and place 2 slices of lemon on each hen.
- Pour Pernod and orange juice around the outside of the hens.
- Cook on low for 4 hours. Place hens on a cutting board and cover with foil. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Nutritional value per 1/2 hen (meat only no skin):
Calories 180 Fat 4 grams Carbs 5 grams Fiber 0 grams Protein 26 gram
*To make a roasted chicken instead:
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Combine the spices as above but add in 1 tbsp. Pernod and 1 tbsp. orange juice.
- I butterflied my chicken but you don’t have to. It will cook faster.
- Stick your index finger under the skin of the breast and carefully move back and forth to detach the skin from the breast. Continue to move your finger down to detach the skin from the thigh and drumstick.
- Push spice paste under the skin and work it down to the drumstick. Make sure to cover the chicken completely. Use any leftover paste to rub on top of the skin and under the chicken.
- Place chicken on a rack placed on top of a baking sheet.
- Roast for about an hour or until chicken breast has reached 165°.
You can also see this recipe at some of these Link Parties.