Sunday, November 11, 2012

Simple Thanks

Cornish Game Hen with Rosemary
This Thanksgiving do something different. Serve a half of a Cornish game hen on each of your guests plate, instead of the traditional 20 lb. turkey. It's fast, easy and provides each guest with ample white meat.Served on a bed of herbed risotto with traditional green bean casserole and sweet potatos, your guests will be amazed at how you were able to make a great Thanksgiving dinner with out spending hours in the kitchen.

You will not find Cornish game hens in the wild. In fact, the breed didn’t exist before the mid-1950s when Alphonsine (“Therese”) and Jacques Makowsky bred Cornish game cocks with domesticated chickens on their Connecticut farm. But the diminutive chickens (and that’s what they are) have come to epitomize elegance and single-serving perfection on American tables.

Since the birds are so tender and small, they are perfect candidates for marinating and quick cooking methods like broiling or high temperature roasting. They are good marinated in garlic, olive oil, parsley and lemon juice or simply rubbed with a mixture of lemon pepper, black pepper, salt, garlic powder and olive oil before cooking. Cornish game hens make an impressive entrée when glazed with a mixture of apple juice concentrate blended with cinnamon and lemon slices. Stuffing individual birds with wild rice or seasoned breadcrumbs is a popular preparation option.

Cornish Game Hen


  • 4 Cornish game hens
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary or sage, plus additional sprigs for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 teaspoons chicken rub, or more to taste


Rinse the game hens under cold running water, inside and out. (Game hens do not usually come with giblets, but do check the cavity for them before rinsing. If you find giblets, freeze them for chicken stock, if desired.) Dry thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wings behind the backs and tie the legs together with butcher’s string.

Rub the outside of each hen with the melted butter. Sprinkle with chicken rub. Slip a sprig of rosemary into the main cavity of each hen.

When ready to cook, set the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and preheat, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Roast the hens for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the thigh, when read on an instant-read meat thermometer, is 165 degrees F. Transfer the hens to a platter or plates and let rest for 5 minutes.
Split hens in half and place on small bed of herbed risotto.

Garnish with a sprig of rosemary before serving.

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