Poussins, which are functionally identical to what we call Cornish game hens in the United States, are like single-serving chickens, so they do the double duty of being a slightly more elegant, formal looking meal, and also making it possible to serve something roast-chicken-like in under half an hour.
These poussins are gorgeous Italian beauties. They are rubbed all over with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary, and wrapped in prosciutto di Parma. The skin bubbles up, the garlic and rosemary toast and infuse, and the prosciutto crisps into a salty shell. As they rest, toss creamy cannellini beans in the garlicky juices, and roast them for five minutes to warm through. That's it! A perfect, elegant roast dinner in half an hour. This is, of course, dinner for two, but you can multiply at will.
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 Cornish game hens, about 8 ounces each, backbones removed with kitchen shears, and spread flat.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 4 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
- 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle a rectangular baking dish with 1 teaspoon of olive oil Drizzle each of the hens, front and back, with 1 teaspoon of olive oil each. Season with salt and pepper, and rub all over with the chopped rosemary and garlic. Lay breast-side-up in a single layer in the baking dish, and drape the prosciutto over the top of the chickens. Roast until prosciutto is crisp and breasts register 155°F at their deepest point on an instant read thermometer, 18 to 25 minutes.
Take the poussins out of the pan and set aside. Transfer beans to pan and stir to coat in juices. Season with salt and pepper and return to oven until hot, about 5 minutes. Serve beans and hens immediately.