Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cornish Game Hens

Cornish Game Hen, Rosemary, Lemon & Garlic. The Daily Fitchett.
The new big hit at our house is Cornish game hens, pictured below with rosemary garnish, potatoes au gratin, and mixed green salad with dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and sliced pear. See the pinkness in the juice in the photo above? That's what I couldn't see when it was still in the baking pan. This one had to go back in the oven. In order to avoid this problem, make sure to check the internal temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer, and to use a large enough baking pan so as not to crowd the hens. If they are too close together, it will take significantly longer to cook. Another mistake that you can see in this photo was the raw rosemary garnish. Mark tossed the rosemary garnish back in the oven at the last minute to toast it for tenderness, better texture and flavor.  Once that was done, it was a phenomenal meal. Thanks to MoonAndBack on for posting the original recipe.

Essential Equipment:
  • Large Baking Pan
  • Large Rack that can fit inside the baking pan, and accommodate 4 Cornish game hens with space in between each (hens should not touch, nor be too crowded)
  • Meat Thermometer
4 Cornish game hens
1 lemon
8 sprigs rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 dozen cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 Cup white cooking wine
1 Cup low-sodiu chicken broth

Cornish Game Hens with Rosemary & Potatoes au Gratin.
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Rub hens with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff a lemon wedge and sprig of rosemary into the cavity of each hen; Tie the legs together with string. Arrange on a rack placed inside a large, heavy roasting pan, and arrange garlic cloves around the hens. Roast for 25 minutes.
  3. In a Pyrex cup, mix together wine, chicken broth, and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil; pour over hens. Continue roasting, and baste with pan juices and additional chicken broth/olive oil mixture every 15 minutes. It can be difficult to tell if the juices "run clear", so continue roasting hens and use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the hens reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Each instance of basting reduces the temperature in the oven and adds on to the total cooking time, but it is oh-so worth it.
  4. Transfer hens to a platter, pouring any cavity juices into the roasting pan. Tent hens with aluminum foil to keep warm. Transfer pan juices, garlic cloves to a medium saucepan, add the rest of the chicken broth and olive oil, and boil on medium high until liquids reduce to a sauce consistency, about 6 minutes. Cut hens in half lengthwise, spoon sauce and garlic over the hens, and garnish with rosemary. 
Here's another great link that I found regarding the proper way to cook these hens: How To Roast Cornish Game Hen on

Cornish game hens are small, light, not too overpowering in flavor, and yet extremely tasty.  This dish goes well with red wine and French bread.  Serves 6-8.

--The Daily Fitchett, 3/9/11.

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