Cornish Hen with Morel Sauce and Potatoes au Gratin

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I have always loved French food, and on our recent honeymoon we were able to taste a fantastic variety of many of the nation’s dishes. For one of my favorite dinners we had cornish hen in a morel sauce and the best potatoes au gratin I had ever had. I knew I had to try to replicate the meal at home and am pleased with the results.

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For the cornish hen:

Ingredients: 1 whole cornish hen, 2 cups mushrooms (I decided to use a variety of mushrooms instead of just morels, but you can stick to morels if you would like),  1/4 cup flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, 1/3 cup diced shallots, 2 garlic cloves, 1 cup dry white wine, 1 cup chicken stock, 1 cup heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions: cut the hen into eight separate pieces, sprinkle salt and pepper over hen. Lightly dredge the hen pieces with flour. In a non-stick pot (I use a dutch oven) heat the two tablespoons of olive oil. Add hen one piece at a time and cook about two minutes per side. Remove the chicken from pot and place on a paper lined plate. Add the butter to pot and let melt, add the shallots and garlic and cook until tender, about two minutes. Add the mushrooms, wine, chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for two minutes before adding the chicken pieces. Cover and let cook for about 20 minutes. Add the heavy cream and simmer for an additional five minutes.


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For the potatoes:

Ingredients: 4 large thinly sliced russet potatoes, 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons flour, 2 cups whole milk, 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper.

Instructions: heat oven to 350F. In a saucepan melt the butter and then add the flour. Whisk flour and butter for a few seconds and slowly pour in milk, add salt and pepper and bring to a gentle boil, until thickened. Add in the cheese, and whisk until cheese is fully melted and incorporated. Layer bottom of an oven safe dish with potato slices, add a bit of the cheese sauce, top with a layer of potatoes, repeat process until you reach top of baking dish. Bake for about 40 minutes, until potatoes are tender and lightly crisp on the top layer.

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Enjoy with a glass of wine! Bon appétit!

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