2small Shallotssliced julienne (don't separate the slices)
1Long sweet red pepperchopped
few sprigs thymefresh or dry
few sprigs rosemaryfresh
Salt and pepper to taste
For the flavored butter:
5oz= 150 g unsalted buttergrated
zest from 2 small lemons
1/2bunch thymefresh or dry
Pre heat the oven at 375 F = 190 C
Make the flavored butter: mix grated butter (room temperature) with lemon zest, garlic and thyme until combined, then divide into four. Keep in the fridge until needed.
Take the hens, one by one and use your fingers and a small spatula to gently work your way between the skin and the meat. Start at the side of the cavity above the legs and gently work your way up along the breastbone, towards the back, until you create a large cavity. Pull the skin up with your fingers, on the outside while gently pushing with your spatula on the inside.
Poke 1/4 of the butter into each side, using your hands to push it through the skin right to the back, on the outside, so it coats the breast meat as evenly as possible. Leave a tiny bit to rub on the outside too.
Cut 1 of the zested lemons in 4.
Mix mushrooms, ham, thyme and rosemary and divide into two.
Stuff each hen with half the mushroom ham mixture and close cavities with 2 pieces of lemon.
Toss the other veggies in a large roasting tray, together with the smashed garlic and bay leaves. Keep the onion slices together and stick in between the other veggies (these get dry easier if separated).
Place the hens on top of the veggie bed, drizzle with oil and season with salt, pepper and some thyme.
Roast the hens in the oven for about 2 hours, or until the skin is golden and crispy and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a sharp knife, basting twice during cooking. If the vegetables start looking dry, add a splash of water to the tray to stop them burning though they shouldn't as the hens leave enough juice. I have a not so friendly oven so I left it on 375 F for 15 minutes then I've turned the heat on medium for about 1 hour and on medium low for the remaining time. I checked every 20-30 minutes, mainly because I was anxious to taste all that goodness!
Have this with or without gravy, it tastes as great either way!