Cornish Hen stuffed with Israeli couscous and tomato and pepper ragout

Serves 4 to 6

Moroccan Spice Rub  

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp cayenne

2 tsp cumin seed

1 tsp fennel seed

1 tsp coriander seed

1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes

1 TB sweet paprika

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp brown sugar

Poultry

4 Cornish hens

4 garlic cloves, slivered

1 TB extra-virgin olive oil

3 TB fresh lemon juice

Stuffing

1 recipe Israeli Couscous

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup sweet butter

3 TB dark honey

1 cinnamon stick

sea salt to taste

4 cilantro sprigs, as garnish

4 lemon slices, as garnish

Directions

Combine all spice rub ingredients.

Wash the squabs inside and out and pat them dry.

Massage the spice rub into the birds inside and out. Cut small slits into the breast and the place where the thigh joins the breast of the birds. Insert the garlic slices into the slits. Drizzle the outside of the birds with one tablespoon of the olive oil and all of the lemon juice. Place the hens in a pan and marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of one hour, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Fill the hen cavities with the couscous. Place the hens in a roasting pan. Roast until the birds just begin to brown, and drizzle the white wine over them.

Baste again with the liquid in the roasting pan and roast until the juices runs yellow when a knife tip is inserted in the thigh joint. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest 10 minutes so the juices of the hens redistribute.

Pour all excess drippings from the roasting pan into a small bowl and skim the fat from the top. Simmer the liquid until it is reduced to about 1 cup. Add the butter, honey and cinnamon and stir to blend well. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Salt to taste.

Cut the birds in half and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon the warm sauce over them and garnish with a cilantro sprig and lemon slice on top of each bird. .

Israeli Couscous

Yield: 4

Ingredients:

3 tbl olive oil

2 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped shallot

1/2 tsp ground sumac

2 cup Israeli couscous

2 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 tsp salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 cup hopped parsley

Method:

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic and shallots for about 4 minutes until soft but not browned. Add sumac and couscous and stir over medium heat. When the couscous starts to toast add stock, salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Turn the heat to low. Cook the couscous for 10 to 12 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is al dente. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Matbucha (Cooked Red Pepper and Tomato Salad)

Ingredients:

1 Kilo Red Peppers

2 Kilos Soft Cooking Tomatoes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. Sweet Paprika

3 Tsp. Crushed Garlic

1/2 Tsp. Salt

3 Small Dried Chili Peppers (or Cayenne Pepper)

Preparation:

1. Place peppers on an open flame. Turn the peppers until the peppers become
blackened and are burned on all sides. Place peppers in a plastic bag and let cool.

2. Place tomatoes in a deep bowl and poor boiling water over them. After
a few minutes remove tomatoes from water and peel them.

3. Cut tomatoes in half and squeeze out the juice.  Chop the tomatoes into large pieces.

4. Place oil and chopped tomatoes in a large pot.

5. Place blackened peppers under running water and peel them. Cut the
peppers into thin strips. Add peppers to the pot with the tomatoes.

6. Add the spices and chopped garlic.

7. Cook on high heat until the mixture begins to stick to the pot.
Reduce the heat and cook for about half an hour until hardly any liquid is left in the pot.

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