I would be lying if I said I heard whispers about NoMad's famous roasted chicken. I did not hear whispers. I heard shouts and exclamations.
I heard enough that my husband and I decided to book a reservation and see for ourselves.
Expensive? Oh man, you don't want to know. Worth it? Every single penny.
It exceeded my expectations and is now the bar in which I set my roasted chicken scale to. When someone tells me that a restaurant's roast chicken is "the best", I always respond "Better than NoMad's?"
Because I cannot justify spending that amount of money very often, I needed to come up with a way that I could produce a luscious and delicious chicken that resonated similar flavors and aromas but on a budget of sorts. I've made this a few times. The most rewarding compliment was when my friend ditched his fork and knife and went caveman style on this dish. I vary the side dishes from roasted potatoes to sweet potato puree and there are always some greens for balance!!
Here is my creation. —NotEnoughMomentsOfBrilliance
Mousse Truffee (pate that has truffle bits such as D'Artagnan mouse truflee)
Take mousse, 2 tablespoons of truffle oil, and 2 tablespoons of butter and combine to a creamy paste. Add salt and pepper to your liking. This will be for both Cornish hens. Don't be shy about the decadence of this filling. If you want to add more butter, truffle oil, etc., go ahead. This dish is supposed to be luxurious.
Take Cornish hens and gently, using finger or spoon, part skin around breast and thigh area from the meat. Be careful to not tear skin. I like to make a small incision in the skin around the base of one breast. I use a long necked spoon like a tea spoon to help separate the skin from the meat and then I use my finger and wiggle it trying to reach the various other parts of the hen.
Divide the mousse to two parts. Once you are satisfied you have loosened as much skin as you could, use a spoon or pastry bag to fill the space between the skin and meat that you created in the above step. This takes patience. The mixture will be wet and messy. Gently massage the mixture so it spreads as evenly as possible throughout the Cornish hen and fills the spaces you created. Try to get the mousse in all the crevices as much as you possible can.
Repeat for second hen.
Once the mousse has been distributed between the skin and meat of both hens, take the remaining butter and truffle oil and massage it on the skins of both hens. Use salt and pepper to taste.
Truss hens if desired. Divide sprigs of rosemary and thyme and fill cavity of hens. Take lemon halves and do the same.
Put hens in roasting tray with roasting rack. Roast hens until the skin gets crispy and meat juices run clear (approx. 1.5 hour in my oven). Your home will be filled with the scent of truffles and you will be in heaven.
Baste occasionally with the fat and juices that drip out. Make sure the skin is nice and crisp before removing the hens.