Apparently a cornish game hen isn’t necessarily even a hen. A cornish game hen can actually be a male or female, and it’s not even a game bird, just a smaller domestic chicken. Huh. Who knew?
But it’s a great choice for a dinner party, as each person can have their own personal hen, and you don’t have to worry about who wants the thigh vs. breast on a giant roasted chicken. These are great served with roasted potatoes, sauteed spinach or even mac n cheese. It’s a simple dish that’s certain to impress any dinner guest.
Herb-Roasted Cornish Game Hens (courtesy of Miss Martha Stewart)
1/4 cup parsley leaves, packed
2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 lemon, ends trimmed, cut into wedges and seeded
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
6 1/2 pound Cornish game hens
4 tablespoons butter, softened
Place parsley, rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Blend until finely chopped. With machine running, add olive oil.
Loosen skin from the hens. Put 1 tablespoon of herb mixture under skin of each hen, smoothing to cover breasts. Rest in the fridge if you have time, but if you’re like me you’re not exactly planning in advance.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place hens on a clean rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan (I used a roasting pan and turned the hens half way through cooking). Brush butter over surface of hens and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast in oven, rotating pan once until golden brown and cooked through (meat thermometer should read 165 degrees when placed in the thigh), about 50 minutes.
Remove from oven and let stand at least 15 minutes before placing on individual plates. No carving necessary!