* - chicken breasts may be substituted. 3 whole chicken breasts would provide 6 generous pieces.
** - mix butter and flour to a paste.
1. Have your butcher thaw Cornish hens if frozen. Remove legs and wings. Cut back from breasts; skin and bone breasts. Cut each breast
in half. (Use legs for another meal. The backs and wings make a fine stock or soup.) Season breasts lightly with salt and pepper and dredge lightly with flour, pressing flour into breasts so that they are completely coated. Shake off excess flour.
2. Melt the butter and shortening in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat and cook the breasts lightly, a few at a time, removing them as they turn firm and golden. When all are done, pour off and discard the cooking fat.
3. Return the breasts to the skillet and place it over medium-high heat. Pour in the cognac and ignite. Using a pronged kitchen fork, turn the breasts in the flames for a few seconds, then remove the skillet from the heat until the flames subside. Add the chicken stock, tarragon, and thyme. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until breasts are tender. Remove them to a heated platter.
4. Reduce the cooking liquid to about half, then stir in the cream. Add butter-flour mixture and cook the sauce over low heat until smooth and thick. Correct seasonings with salt and stir in the parsley. Pour some of the sauce over the breasts. Serve remaining sauce separately.
5. Serve with wild rice.
*** WILD RICE ***
Place rice in a saucepan and cover by about 3 inches with cold water. Place over medium heat and bring to full boil. Remove pot from heat, let rice settle to bottom of pan, then gently pour off water. Again cover rice with water. Add salt and butter and let simmer until tender, usually about 30 minutes, depending on brand of rice. Drain into colander. Place colander over a pan of simmering water to keep hot until time to serve.