This meal is a show-stopper. An elegant and expeditious way to serve a roasted bird for a small crowd at the holidays. Although, you could make as many of these as you needed to, to serve a crowd.
Buy a couple of poussin (which are essentially what we call Cornish game hens in the United States), and, using some strong kitchen shears, cut out their backbones. Now, you have a flat bird that you rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh garlic and rosemary needles. As the crowning glory, wrap the birds in prosciutto di Parma. As the birds roast, the skin bronzes, the garlic and rosemary perfumes the meat, and the prosciutto crisps to a salty shell. They're cooked in under 25 minutes.
All that's left to do is stir creamy cannellini beans into the juices, and let them roast for five minutes while the chickens relax on the counter. Then, you have a hearty but charming Italian roast dinner. Serve a mound of the garlicky beans, and top with the gorgeous poussin.
As I made this, Mr. English kept coming into the kitchen, sniffing around the oven, demanding "what's in there?!" He wasn't disappointed.
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