Without a doubt, the instant pot has revolutionized the way we cook. It’s a versatile, multi-functional tool that can make cooking time quicker, more efficient and more enjoyable. One of the most popular dishes people cook in the instant pot are Cornish hens. These little birds are tender, succulent and full of flavor, and they can be easily cooked in the instant pot for a delicious meal in no time. In this article, we’ll show you how to cook 2 Cornish hens in the instant pot, step by step.
Why Cornish hens are perfect for instant pot cooking
Cornish hens are small and easy to handle, which makes them perfect for cooking in the instant pot. They are also ideal for a quick weeknight dinner or for a special occasion like a dinner party. As they are small birds, they don't take long to cook and are perfect for those times when you don't have hours to spend in the kitchen. Another great feature of Cornish hens is that they are so versatile, you can season them in a variety of ways depending on your mood or your guests' preferences.
In addition to their size and versatility, Cornish hens are also a healthier option compared to other types of poultry. They are lower in fat and calories, making them a great choice for those who are watching their weight or trying to maintain a healthy diet. Plus, they are a good source of protein and other essential nutrients, making them a nutritious addition to any meal.
Step-by-step guide to preparing Cornish hens for instant pot cooking
To prepare your Cornish hens for cooking in the instant pot, you first need to make sure they are completely thawed and cleaned thoroughly. Rinse them under cold water and dry them with paper towels. Then, rub the birds with your favorite seasonings and herbs. Some popular choices are rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, salt, and black pepper. You can also use a dry rub or marinade if you prefer. Make sure to lift the skin and rub the seasonings directly onto the meat.
Next, add some oil to the instant pot and hit the sauté button. When the pot is hot, brown the Cornish hens on both sides until they are golden brown. This will take around 2-3 minutes per side. Once the hens are browned, remove them from the instant pot and set them aside.
After removing the Cornish hens from the instant pot, add some chopped onions, carrots, and celery to the pot. Sauté the vegetables until they are soft and fragrant. Then, add some chicken broth or water to the pot and scrape the bottom to remove any browned bits. This will add flavor to the dish.
Finally, place the Cornish hens back into the instant pot and close the lid. Set the pressure cooker to high pressure and cook for 25-30 minutes. Once the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before opening the lid. Serve the Cornish hens with the vegetables and broth for a delicious and flavorful meal.
How to choose the right instant pot settings for cooking Cornish hens
Now it’s time to set up your instant pot for cooking the Cornish hens. Add some chicken broth or water to the pot, along with any extra seasonings or herbs. Place a trivet or rack in the pot and carefully place the Cornish hens on top, breast-side up. Make sure the hens are not touching the liquid in the pot. Remember to put the lid on the pot, making sure it’s locked in place and the pressure valve is set to “sealing”.
Select the manual or pressure cook button and set the timer according to the size of your hens and the cook time of the recipe you're following. Typically, it takes between 20 to 25 minutes of cooking time per pound. For two 2-pound hens, set the timer for 25 minutes. After the pressure cooking process has ended, let the pressure release naturally for 10-15 minutes, before manually releasing any remaining pressure using the quick release valve.
Once the pressure has been released, carefully remove the lid and use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the hens. The temperature should read at least 165°F in the thickest part of the meat. If the temperature is not high enough, return the hens to the instant pot and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
After the hens have finished cooking, remove them from the instant pot and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender dish. Serve the Cornish hens with your favorite sides, such as roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes.
Tips for seasoning and flavoring your Cornish hens in the instant pot
To get the best flavor out of your Cornish hens, be sure to season them well before cooking. You can use a dry rub, a marinade or simply salt and pepper. Don't forget to lift the skin and rub the seasonings directly onto the meat. You can also stuff the hens with herbs and citrus for added flavor.
Another way to add flavor and moisture to the Cornish hens is by using chicken broth or white wine in the instant pot. This will add a depth of flavor to the hens and keep them juicy while cooking.
If you want to take your Cornish hens to the next level, consider using a spice blend or seasoning mix. You can find pre-made blends at the grocery store or make your own by combining your favorite spices. Some popular options include garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and thyme.
Finally, don't be afraid to experiment with different flavor combinations. For example, you could try a sweet and savory glaze made with honey and soy sauce, or a spicy rub with cayenne pepper and chili powder. The possibilities are endless, so have fun and get creative with your Cornish hens!
How long to cook 2 Cornish hens in the instant pot
The size of the Cornish hens affects the cooking time in the instant pot. Generally, it takes around 20-25 minutes of cooking time per pound. In the case of 2-pound hens, the cooking time will be around 25 minutes. Make sure to consult your instant pot manual for specific cook times for Cornish hens or your recipe's cooking time.
How to ensure your Cornish hens are cooked thoroughly in the instant pot
After cooking your Cornish hens in the instant pot, it's important to check that they are cooked properly. The internal temperature of each hen should be at least 165°F (74°C) when checked with a meat thermometer. In addition, the juices should run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife, and the joints should easily move. If necessary, you can place the hens back in the instant pot and pressure cook them for a few minutes longer.
Creative serving ideas for your Cornish hens from the instant pot
Once you have cooked your Cornish hens in the instant pot, it's time to serve them. There is nothing like the sight of a hot and juicy Cornish hen served with your favorite sides. You can serve your Cornish hens with roasted or grilled vegetables, mashed potatoes, or your favorite grain salad. You can also use the cooking liquid from the instant pot to make a delicious gravy to drizzle over the hens.
Common mistakes to avoid when cooking Cornish hens in the instant pot
One key mistake to avoid when cooking Cornish hens in the instant pot is overcrowding the pot. Make sure not to overload the instant pot as this will lead to uneven cooking. Always use a trivet or rack to keep the hens off the bottom of the pot and prevent them from touching the liquid. Additionally, ensure that the pressure valve is set to “sealing” before cooking and allow natural release of steam before manually releasing remaining pressure.
Frequently asked questions about cooking 2 Cornish hens in an instant pot
What is the best way to season Cornish hens in the instant pot?- The best way to season Cornish hens in the instant pot is with your favorite herbs and spices. Consider using a dry rub, marinade, or fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme or sage.How long should Cornish hens be cooked in the instant pot?- Cornish hens should be cooked in the instant pot for around 25 minutes per 2 pounds of bird. Check your instant pot manual for specific cooking times.Can I cook Cornish hens from frozen in the instant pot?- It's not recommended to cook Cornish hens from frozen in the instant pot. Always thaw them thoroughly before cooking to ensure even cooking and food safety.What is the best way to serve Cornish hens?- Cornish hens can be served with a variety of sides, such as roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes. You can also use the cooking liquid from the instant pot to make a delicious gravy to drizzle over the hens.
The instant pot is a great tool for home cooks who love quick and easy meals that are full of flavor. Cornish hens are the perfect candidate for this appliance as they're small, easy to handle, and can be cooked quickly. With these easy-to-follow steps, you can make these delicious birds in just a few simple steps. So go ahead and try your hand at creating a succulent, juicy Cornish hen dinner with your trusty instant pot today!