Moroccan-Style Roast Cornish Hens with Vegetables
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup mild honey
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large zucchini (1 1/4 pounds total), halved lengthwise and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 medium turnips (1/2 pound total), peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces
- 2 red bell peppers, quartered and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 medium onions, cut lengthwise into 1-inch-thick wedges
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 4 (1 to 1 1/2-pound) Cornish hens, halved lengthwise
- 6 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh parsley, cilantro, and mint leaves
- Accompaniment: couscous
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Coarsely grind caraway seeds with salt in an electric coffee/spice grinder or crush with a rolling pin. Mince garlic, then mash to a paste with salt mixture using flat side of a chef's knife. Transfer paste to a large bowl and whisk in honey, lemon juice, oil, spices, and pepper.
Put zucchini, turnips, bell peppers, butternut squash, and onions in an oiled large roasting pan, then add half of spice mixture and toss until well coated. Stir tomatoes and broth into vegetables. Add hens to large bowl with remaining spice mixture and toss to coat, then arrange hens, breast sides up, over vegetables in pan.
Cover pan tightly with foil and roast in middle of oven 1 hour. Uncover and roast until hens are browned and vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes more. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Sprinkle herbs on top and spoon some cooking liquid over hens.
Serve with couscous, if desired.