Stuffing ground pistachios under the skin makes a dish that will get under your skin.
Servings: Serves 4
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 (1 1/4 to 1 1/2-pound) Cornish hens
  • 4 teaspoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped Vidalia onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Directions
    Preheat oven to 425°. In a food processor or spice grinder, process 1/2 cup nuts until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl; add 2 teaspoons thyme. Carefully loosen skin from breasts and thighs by working your fingers between skin and meat. Stuff pistachio mixture under skin of each bird. Rub top of each bird with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper and any remaining pistachio mixture. Tuck wings under back and tie legs together.

    Place chicken, breast side down, in a roasting pan just large enough to hold birds comfortably. Roast 15 minutes. Turn over so breast side is up, and roast 45 minutes, or until skin is nicely browned and juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with a small knife.

    Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine onion, stock, remaining 1/2 cup pistachios, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered 20 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

    Serve birds with sauce on the side.

    For more from Michel Nischan, visit his website:


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