Cornish Hen makes such an easy, yet oh so very elegant star of any meal. It is my go-to when I am planning a beautiful meal for entertaining throughout the holidays and know that everyone most likely will have turkey until they begin to turn up their noses at the mere mention of the old lovable bird.
When that time comes, I pull out my simple, yet oh so delicious recipe for making cornish hen and all becomes right with the world once again. At least in my mind.
Generally, you can find cornish hen year round in the meat area of your grocery store. Mine usually has them in the frozen meat section alongside turkey breast, whole turkeys, and other seasonal large meats. A cornish hen is smaller than a whole chicken, but tastes the same. Usually, the average size of cornish hen is about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds each, making them the perfect size for serving one person.
If you are planning a meal with a many side dishes or courses, you can even split the cornish hen in half before roasting. But, I truly love the elegant look of a plated cornish hen served for dinner parties. It just adds such an elegant and fun touch!
Now, you can of course stuff your cornish hen with as you would a whole chicken or even a turkey, taking care to stuff the bird just before cooking to avoid any issues with cross contamination. You can also use any glazes or sauces you prefer for your cornish hen based on the other dishes you plan to serve on your menu. This recipe that I’m providing is simply the launching point for a whole array of ideas!
Here’s my easy, elegant and oh so simple Cornish Hen recipe. Add your favorite stuffings, glazes or garnishes to dress it up however you choose!
- 4 (1 - 1½ pound) cornish hens, rinsed
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 shallots, peeled
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 6-8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4-6 tablespoons butter, softened
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Place a clove of garlic, a shallot, and sprigs of rosemary and thyme into the cavity of each cornish hen.
- Rub softened butter on the skin of each cornish hen and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place in roasting pan fitted with a wire rack to elevate the cornish hens from the bottom of the pan. Roast for 1 hour or until the juices of the cornish hen run clear when pricked with a sharp knife. Remove the cornish hens from the oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.