Cornish Game Hens Roasted (A Different Way To Serve Poultry)

Game hens

     You’re scheduled to entertain guests you want to impress. You know they like chicken, and there are countless ways to serve it, but you want to serve something unique –perhaps a different bird that they won’t be expecting.

     You look at your choices: pheasant, pigeon, squab, quail, or Cornish game hen. The cheapest and the easiest to find is a Cornish game hen, and it’s just the right size. Two guests can split one, or if they are really hungry, you can serve each guest a whole hen.

     They also present nicely. Seeing a whole mini-chicken on your plate is an inviting site. The game hens aren’t as exotic as the other poultry that I mentioned; however, because wine and tarragon are included in the recipe, the combination will make it a unique dish.

   A very interesting side you can serve with your hens is spaetzle. It’s a small German dumpling flavored with mushrooms and onions. To do it right requires a “hopper” type tool called a spaetzle maker. It’s fun to use, and can send one your way. It’s not that expensive, and guess what, guys? We have another tool to use.

Because there’s some last minute work required for both the game hens and spaetzle, a vegetable casserole cooking in the oven is a perfect oven to table dish.

Cornish Game Hens Roasted

yields: 2 Servings prep time: 30 Minutes cook time: 90 Minutes
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2 To taste 3 Tbsp 3/4 tsp 6 Tbsp 6 Tbsp 1 1 Tbsp 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 cup 1/4 cup 2 Tbsp 1 1/2 lbs 2 Tbsp 1 Tbsp
Cornish game hens (around 1 1/2 lbs. if possible) Salt and pepper Onions green minced Tarragon dried Butter softened Butter melted for basting Apple diced to stuff bird Onions green minced Tarragon dried Chicken stock Wine red Butter softened Mushrooms Butter EVOO
  • 2
    Cornish game hens (around 1 1/2 lbs. if possible)
  • To taste
    Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp
    Onions green minced
  • 3/4 tsp
    Tarragon dried
  • 6 Tbsp
    Butter softened
  • 6 Tbsp
    Butter melted for basting
  • 1
    Apple diced to stuff bird
  • 1 Tbsp
    Onions green minced
  • 1/2 tsp
    Tarragon dried
  • 1 1/2 cup
    Chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup
    Wine red
  • 2 Tbsp
    Butter softened
  • 1 1/2 lbs
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 1 Tbsp


Enter Target Time _______________

Heat Oven To 350 degrees.

Time: __________ (120 minutes prior to target time)

  1. Wash game hens and pat dry.

  2. Wash mushrooms.

  3. Make a paste of the salt/pepper/green onions/tarragon/butter.

  4. Melt about 6 Tbsp of butter with ½ tsp Tarragon for basting in small sauce pan.

  5. Line a roasting (bake) pan with aluminum foil and apply cooking spray to the inside rack.

  6. Using about 1/6 of paste for each bird, apply and rub into its cavity.

  7. Stuff cavity with diced apples.

  8. Truss the bird according to Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 237.

  9. Apply and rub the rest of paste onto outside of bird and place on rack.

Time: __________ (90 minutes prior to target time)

  1. Place roasting pan in the middle of the oven and cook for 90 minutes.

  2. Baste every 20-30 minutes with melted butter mixture and rotate bird.

Time: __________ (15 minutes prior to target time)

  1. Start green onions/stock/wine/tarragon reduction. Reduce to about ½ cup (not less).

  2. Add 2 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp oil, and mushrooms to 12” high-sided skillet.

  3. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and sauté for about 6 minutes and set aside.

  4. When reduction is done, add 2 Tbsp of softened butter. No salt. It should be salty enough.

  5. Remove trussing strings and plate birds.

  6. Serve with small servings of sauce either to dip or drizzle over bird.

Wine:  A nice Rosé

Sides:  Green bean casserole, and spaetzle (my favorite).

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