Food & dining

Recipe for Cornish hens with cranberry beans and kale

Cornish hens with cranberry beans and kale.
Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe
Cornish hens with cranberry beans and kale.

Serves 4 with leftovers


1pound (2½ cups) dried cranberry or borlotti beans, soaked overnight and drained
1carrot, halved lengthwise
1stalk celery, halved
½medium onion with stem intact
Salt and pepper, to taste
2tablespoons olive oil
1medium onion, chopped
2cloves garlic, chopped
½teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2plum tomatoes, diced
1bunch fresh kale, leaves cut
into 1-inch pieces

1. In a soup pot over medium-high heat, combine the beans and enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Skim the foam that rises to the surface. Add the carrot, celery, and onion half to the pot. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and cook for 35 to 60 minutes (depending on the age of the beans) or until they are tender but still hold their shape. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in salt, and set aside for 30 minutes.

2. In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the beans and their cooking liquid, discarding the carrots, celery, and onion half. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and add the tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Set aside 5 cups of the beans and their liquid for the pasta.


3. Stir the kale into the beans in the skillet. Cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale is wilted and tender.

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2tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
4Cornish hens (about 1¼ pounds each)
2lemons, 1 quartered lengthwise and 1 juiced
4extra sprigs fresh rosemary
2tablespoons olive oil
2cups hot water

1. Have on hand a roasting pan that will fit 4 hens.

2. In a small bowl, combine the chopped rosemary and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Rub the mixture over the hens, sprinkling some inside the cavities. Stuff 1 lemon quarter and 1 rosemary sprig inside each hen. Set them in the pan. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

3. Set the oven at 400 degrees.


4. Squeeze the lemon juice over the hens. Brush them with olive oil. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes.

5. On each of 4 plates, spoon beans and kale, and add a Cornish hen on top.

6. Add the hot water to the roasting pan. Scrape the bottom and tip the juices into a bowl; refrigerate for the pasta. Sally Pasley Vargas