Roast poussin/Cornish hen and sweet potatoes

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time45 mins
  • Serves2
  • DifficultyEasy
2 poussins/Cornish hens
2 tbsp garlic or wok oil
1 (450g) sweet potato
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 to 2 bunches watercress
Salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Good squirt lime juice
This is my almost-regular-as-clockwork Saturday night supper. I find it enormously easy and relaxing to make, since all I do is go downstairs, put everything in the oven, then go back up to Saturday evening TV in bed until it's ready – and then, frankly, back again.

If I cook the poussins/Cornish hens in the same pan as the sweet potatoes, I cut a couple of slices of bread and put one underneath each bird in the tin, so as to absorb the juices and stop them from seeping into the sweet potatoes which, in turn, would prevent them from crisping and browning. But more often than not, I dispense with the bread (you can imagine how good it tastes later though) and just get two disposable foil roasting trays, put the poussins/Cornish hens in one and the sweet potatoes in another, and reunite them on the plate with a little watercress and a squirt of lime juice later.

I must have English mustard with this dish. I know it's a weakness, but not one I'm willing to renounce.

1) Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas mark 7. Put the birds into a small baking pan or foil tray, pouring over 1 tbsp of oil.

2) Cut the unpeeled sweet potatoes into 6cm cubes and put them into another smallish tin or foil tray. Pour over the other tbsp of oil and sprinkle over the spices, then toss everything together by shaking the tin.

3) Cook both the poussins/hens and sweet potatoes in the preheated hot oven for 45 minutes.

4) Put each bird on a plate, with a tangle of watercress and the sweet potatoes alongside. Sprinkle with salt, to taste, and spritz with lime juice and go to it!

Recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson (published by Chatto & Windus) Visit Nigella's site.

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