Cornish Hens with Shiitake and Watercress

 Delicious, Quick Side Dishes

Cornish Hens with Shiitake and Watercress
Photo: © Tina Rupp
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, large caps quartered

  • 6 cilantro sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

  • 4 dried sliced porcini mushrooms

  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • Two 1 1/2-pound Cornish hens, halved

  • 2 bunches watercress, large stems removed (about 3/4 pound)

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil


  1. Pour 1 1/2 inches of water into a large, wide pot. Make 4 foil balls 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Set a large cake rack on the foil balls in the pot. Bring the water to a boil.

  2. Tear off two 18-inch-long sheets of extra-heavy-duty foil. Mound half of the shiitake caps, cilantro sprigs, porcini, garlic, bay leaves, soy sauce, scallion and peppercorns in the center of each piece of foil. Set 2 hen halves on top, fold up the foil edges and seal.

  3. Carefully set the packages on the cake rack over the boiling water, cover and steam over moderate heat for 40 minutes. Transfer the packages to a large rimmed platter.

  4. Spread the watercress on a large heatproof plate. Set on the cake rack, cover and steam for 4 minutes. Open the packages carefully. Remove the skin from the hens and transfer them to warmed shallow bowls. Stir 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of the sesame oil into each package, then spoon the mushrooms and sauce into the bowls. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve.


One Serving 198 calories, 5.6 gm total fat, 1.3 gm saturated fat, 8 gm carb.

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