Cornish Game Hens, Roasted

Using this recipe for Roasted Cornish Game Hen, you can quickly and easily prepare a dish that will impress your guests. Roasted Cornish hens with a butter-herb rub are served with a side of carrots, onions, and lemon.

For a classy alternative to whole roasted chicken, serve these breasts with the flavorful pan juices or make the gravy.

A roasted cornish hen in a baking dish with vegetables and lemon slices.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens are perfect if you need to cut back on holiday food preparations or if you just want to treat yourself to a fancy meal. We often eat roast chicken and vegetables during the fall and winter months, but these little hens are a nice change of pace.

Cornish hens are surprisingly straightforward to prepare, despite their elegant appearance. Even when I was a young bride of 18 years old, I included them in the meal I prepared for my now-husband.

My sister Barb recommended Cornish game hens as a special dish for this guy I was cooking for. It was a stroke of brilliance Simple, yet so impressive, this is a meal we continue to talk about years after it was served. Maybe the deal was finally made because of those chickens.

In conclusion, if I, at the age of 18, was able to roast Cornish hens perfectly, then anyone can do it.

A top down shot of two roasted cornish game hens in a baking dish with a spoon.

Outline of what's inside

  • Cornish game hens are a popular but often misunderstood option for a celebratory meal that won't break the bank. For the lowest price, shop at warehouse clubs like Costco or at your neighborhood's big-box retailer.
  • Accessibility - Two-packs of frozen Cornish hens are widely available at grocery stores all year.
  • Cooking and preparing these miniature fowl is much simpler and faster than a traditional whole roast chicken or turkey.
  • Pan juices from roasting these little hens over aromatics can be used to make a gravy (optional). Spoon them over the roasted Cornish hens, or use them to make a quick gravy.
The ingredients to make Roasted Cornish Game Hens with text.
  • I used two Tyson Premium Cornish Hens that I had previously frozen for my cornish game hens. The weight of each bird is between 1.25 and 1.50 pounds, making it a substantial meal for one person, or two if you follow the below-provided instructions for dividing them.
  • Flavor enhancers - chopped yellow onion, carrots, lemon, and fresh rosemary The aromatics have two functions: they keep the chicken off the bottom of the pan while roasting and they impart wonderful flavor to the drippings.
  • Margarine, extra-virgin olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, dried crushed rosemary, dried thyme, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper make up a delicious butter herb rub. Dried herbs are fantastic in rubs because of their potency.
  • Those who want can make a gravy with low sodium chicken broth, cornstarch, water, butter, salt, and pepper. To achieve a deeper, richer color, you can add a few drops of browning sauce like Kitchen Bouquet.

Chickens should be thawed in the fridge for 1–2 days before being cooked from frozen. Place them on a baking sheet with a rim to catch any dripping juices.

A seasoned butter rub in a small bowl, vegetables and lemon slices in a baking dish and seasoned cornish game hens on top of the vegetables in the baking dish.
  1. Put the rub ingredients (butter, olive oil, and seasonings) into a small bowl and set it aside.
  2. Prepare a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with the onion and carrot pieces at the bottom, and then top with the lemon slices and rosemary sprigs.
  3. Dry the chickens off with some paper towels. Use some of the rub to season the inside of the chicken cavities, then liberally coat the outside of the birds. Set aside some of the rub for garnishing. Arrange the preseasoned chicken pieces atop the aromatics.
  4. If you'd like, you can use kitchen twine to tie the legs together, and then pat the chicken with the remaining butter herb rub to ensure that no unseasoned spots remain. Rotating the baking dish halfway through the cooking process will help ensure an even roast in the final 40 to 45 minutes. When the skin is golden brown and an internal thermometer reads 165 degrees F, the chickens are ready.
A close up of cornish games hens in a baking dish with vegetables, lemon, and sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Gravy Made From Bacon Fat And Onion Skins

  1. Using a fine mesh strainer, transfer the drippings from the roasting pan to a small bowl, and discard the aromatics. Roast the chickens and serve them with the pan juices.
  2. However, the juices from the pan can be used to make a gravy if chicken broth is added and the mixture is thickened with a cornstarch slurry. For complete directions, please refer to the recipe card.
Gravy pouring from a gravy boat over cornish hens on a white plate.

Dividing Roasted Cornish Game Hens

In terms of presentation, a whole roasted Cornish hen is lovely; however, at more than 1 pound, it's a pretty hefty serving for one person.

You should wait at least 10 minutes before slicing them in half. After that, place one of the roasted chickens on a cutting board and press a sharp serrated knife into the breast meat. The chicken should then be cut in half using a sawing motion that goes all the way through.

A cornish game hen sliced in half on a plate with stuffing.
Cornish game hens are what species of bird?

Cornish hens are not typically used for hunting, despite their name. Miniature chickens are regular chickens that have been bred to reach adulthood quickly and weigh less than 2 pounds. Chickens of this type are the offspring of a Cornish rooster and a white Plymouth rock hen, and their sex is not predetermined at birth.

How do Cornish hens smell and taste?

Cornish game hens have a flavor profile similar to chicken, but their younger age makes their meat exceptionally tender. So soft you might not even need a knife. Not "gamey," but milder and more delicate than chicken in flavor. They have plenty of juicy breast meat protected by a thin layer of fatty skin that keeps it moist even after long cooking times.

Specifically, at what degree Celsius should Cornish game hens be cooked?

Cornish game hens are best when roasted at 400 degrees F for 45-50 minutes to achieve a perfectly cooked and crispy skin. When cooking Cornish game hens, the internal temperature of the thickest part should reach 165 degrees F on an instant read meat thermometer.

During cooking, do you cover Cornish hens?

Cornish game hens are best cooked uncovered so that the skin can brown and crisp. Towards the end of cooking, tent them lightly with aluminum foil if they are browning too quickly.

Stuffing Cornish game hens: possible?

The quick answer is yes, but I find that cooking my stuffing separately gives me greater flexibility in how each dish turns out. If you choose to stuff your Cornish hens, make sure the thickest part of the hen and the stuffing are a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before taking them out of the oven.

A fork on a plate with a sliced cornish game hen with gravy.

How to Accompany Cornish Game Hens

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A spoon resting in a baking dish with roasted Cornish game hens on a bed of carrots, onions, and lemon slices.

This recipe for Roasted Cornish Game Hen is a simple way to make a delicious and visually stunning main course. Roasted Cornish hens with a butter-herb coating are served with a side of carrots, onions, and lemon.

Make a Printed Copy of the Recipe Pin Recipe Check out this Recipe!

  • 2 a couple of Cornish game hens , equal to roughly 2 ounces

Aromatics

  • 1 large Fleshy yellow onion with a mildly sweet flavor , slice into triangles
  • 2 to 3 carrots , diced up into manageable pieces
  • 1 large lemon , sliced
  • 3 to 4 sprigs new rosemary

Herb Butter Rub

  • 2 tablespoons butter , softened
  • 2 tablespoons Pure, unadulterated olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons A jar of kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons An ingredient in garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Rosemary, dried and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Herb thyme, in its dried form
  • ½ teaspoon pepper that has just been ground from a black peppercorn

Toppings and Gravy, if Desired

  • ¾ cup reduced salt chicken broth , , if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Sauce for browning similar to Kitchen Bouquet , optional
  • Black pepper and salt, ground to a fine powder , to taste

  • Put the rub ingredients (butter, olive oil, and seasonings) into a small bowl and set it aside.
  • In order to bake a cake, heat your oven to 400 degrees F. placing the rack in the middle of the oven
  • Spread the onion and carrot pieces (there should be enough to cover the bottom of the dish) in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Top with the lemon slices and rosemary sprigs.
  • Wipe the chickens down with some paper towels. Use some of the rub to season the inside of the chickens, then liberally coat the outside. Set aside some of the rub for later. Stack the aromatics atop a baking dish, and place the seasoned chicken on top. If you'd like, you can use kitchen twine to tie the legs together, and then you can pat the chickens down with the remaining butter herb rub to season any spots that may have missed it.
  • In a roasting pan, roast for 25 minutes. Cooking evenly requires turning the baking dish. To achieve a golden brown skin and an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, roast for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Take the baking dish out of the oven and let the chicken sit for 5 minutes. Chickens should be moved to a cutting board and given another five minutes of rest time.
  • Meanwhile, transfer the roasting pan juices to a small bowl through a fine-mesh strainer. Or, you could make the gravy by following the instructions down below. Get rid of any leftover spices or herbs in the baking dish.

Served with Gravy, Which Is Totally Optional

  • Place a mesh strainer over a measuring cup to collect the drippings, then set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the excess fat and fill the measuring cup with broth until it reads 1 cup. Put the contents of the bowl into a small saucepan and set it over medium heat.
  • Mix the cornstarch and water thoroughly, then pour it into the saucepan and bring it to a simmer. When the gravy is almost at the desired consistency, add the butter and stir until melted. Two or three drops of browning sauce can be added to gravy to make it darker and richer in color. Just add salt and pepper to taste, if it needs it. Get it out of the pot and into a gravy boat or tiny bowl.
  • The pan juices or optional gravy can be used to finish off the Cornish hens before serving.
Time does not include preparation of the gravy, which is an extra step. A Hen-Splitting Exercise Allow 10 minutes of cooling time after removing from the oven. Place one of the roasted chickens on a cutting board and press a sharp serrated knife into the thickest part of the breast meat. The chicken should then be cut in half using a sawing motion that goes all the way through.

Calories: 641 kcal · Carbohydrates: 16 g · Protein: 41 g · Fat: 46 g · Unhealthy Saturated Fats: 14 g · Fats with a high polyunsaturated content: 7 g · Substitute for Saturated Fat 21 g · Trans Fat: 0.3 g · Cholesterol: 245 mg · Sodium: 1106 mg · Potassium: 847 mg · Fiber: 3 g · Sugar: 6 g · Vitamin A: 6058 IU · Vitamin C: 21 mg · Calcium: 72 mg · Iron: 3 mg

The nutritional information provided is an estimate based on generic ingredients and is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please check the labels of your ingredients at home to ensure the best results.

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