Herb Roasted Cornish Game Hen
Roasting smaller birds, such as the Game Hen, Pheasant, or even a smaller chicken, is much the same as roasting a full turkey, with some minor time adjustments.
Herb Roasted Game Hen
Two Cornish Game Hens are perfect for just two people, so if you're planning a small Thanksgiving consider this recipe in place of the traditional turkey. Using the right size roasting pan is key here. If you use a roasting pan that is too large, the drippings in the bottom of the pan will burn and you won't be able to make gravy with them. We recommend the All-Clad Specialty Roaster with Rack in Small.
2 Small Cornish Hens (about 1 ½ pounds each)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
½ Cup Butter, cut into cubes
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Poultry Seasoning
2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
2 Cups Chicken Broth
Dash of white wine, lemon juice, or wine wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the game hens in cold water and pat dry.
Place the pieces of butter in a light colored pan over medium high heat. Don't use a pan with a dark surface or you won't be able to tell when the milk solids have changed color. As it melts, the butter will start to foam and sizzle - this is normal. Stirring constantly, cook for 5-8 minutes, watching closely for the butter to start to turn golden brown. You're looking for the milk solids at the bottom of the pan to turn a rich golden brown color and the butter itself to take on a caramel hue. It will smell rich and nutty.
Remove the pan from heat and immediately pour the butter into a heat proof bowl to stop the cooking process.
Combined the olive oil, browned butter, poultry seasoning and salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Rub the mixture all over the skin of the game hens and inside the cavity. You will have some of the mixture left over for basting later.
Place both birds in on a rack in a roasting pan and place in the oven, uncovered. Cook for about 60 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with the remainder of the oil/butter/herb mixture. If the drippings start to burn to the bottom of the pan, add a few tablespoons of water at a time. You don't want to dilute the drippings too much but you don't want them to burn, either.
Check the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, and make sure it's at least 165º F. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes on a serving platter.
While the game hens rest, make the gravy: Place roasting pan on stovetop over medium heat and cook, 2-3 minutes, until any solid bits in the drippings are well browned. Add flour and whisk until lightly golden, about 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the broth, whisking out any lumps as they form.
Whisk continuously until thickened, 5-8 minutes. Add a dash of white wine, lemon juice, or white wine vinegar to taste - just enough to brighten up the flavor a little. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer gravy to a gravy boat or serving dish, such as the Prepara Butter Warmer, and serve alongside the Cornish Game Hens.
Equipment for this recipe:
- Chef Lisa Rembold