How to Cook Cornish Game Hens

Three Methods:Oven Roasted Cornish Game HensGrilled Cornish Game HensPoached and Grilled Cornish Game Hens

A Cornish game hen is a small breed of chicken weighing less than 2 pounds. Cornish game hens have a high ratio of bone to meat, and most cooks allow 1 bird per diner. They can be cooked in the same manner as larger chickens, although the most popular cooking method is roasting, with or without stuffing. If you want to know how to cook Cornish game hens, just follow these steps.

Ingredients

Oven Roasted Cornish Game Hens:

  • 6 Rock Cornish game hens
  • 1 cup (240 mil) lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. (7.5 ml) dried thyme, divided
  • 1 1/4 tsp. (6.25 ml) seasoned salt, divided
  • 1 1/4 tsp. (6.25 ml) garlic powder, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. (1.25 ml) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. (1.25 ml) black pepper

Grilled Cornish Game Hens:

  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) salt
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) pepper

Poached and Grilled Cornish Game Hens:

  • Aromatic ingredients (such as onions, garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, and fresh parsley)
  • Water
  • 2 Cornish game hens

Method 1
Oven Roasted Cornish Game Hens

  1. 1
    Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place a wire baking rack in a large roasting pan.
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    Rinse the Cornish game hens under cool running water. When you're done, pat them dry with a paper towel. Once you've absorbed the excess moisture, you can arrange them evenly on the backing rack.
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    3
    Make the lemon juice mixture and baste the hens with it. First, combine the lemon juice and melted butter together in a bowl. Then, stir in the paprika, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) each of dried thyme, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Brush 1/2 of the herb seasoning over the Cornish game hens and leave the rest to baste them while they cook.
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    Combine the remaining dried thyme, seasoned salt and garlic powder with the salt and pepper and sprinkle the mixture over the hens.
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    Baste the Cornish hens with the reserved lemon juice mixture, and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Baste the hens again and continue to bake another 30 minutes, basting the hens every 10 minutes until a meat thermometer inserted into a thigh reads 180°F(85°C). When they're cooked, place them on a cutting board.
    • To make stuffed Cornish game hens, use your favorite stuffing recipe. Reduce oven temperature to 350 °F (175°C) and increase baking time to 1 1/2 hours. Stuffing temperature should read 165°F (75°C).
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    Cover the Cornish hens with foil and let them rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy these Cornish hens on their own or with roasted veggies and potatoes.

Method 2
Grilled Cornish Game Hens

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    1
    Split the Cornish game hens in half. Do this by cutting through the breast with kitchen shears. Turn them over and cut down the backbone, flattening them with your hands.
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    2
    Rinse the hens under cool running water. When you're done, use a paper towel to dry them and absorb the excess moisture. When they're dried, place them on a pan large enough to hold them when they're flattened out.
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    3
    Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper together to make a marinade. Reserve 2 tbsp. (30 ml) of the marinade for basting, and spread the rest over the hens in the pan. Cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for 2 hours.
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    Preheat the grill.
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    Remove the Cornish hens from marinade. Let the excess marinade drip off the hens and arrange them on the grill, skin side up. Brush reserved marinade on hens and grill for 20 minutes.
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    6
    Flip the hens over and grill them for another 15-25 minutes. Brush on the reserved marinade occasionally as you do this. Use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 180 °F (82.2°C). Place the hens on a cutting board when you're done.
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    Cover the hens with foil and let them rest for 10-15 minutes before you serve them.
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    Serve. Enjoy these tasty grilled Cornish hens with brown rice, carrots, or corn.

Method 3
Poached and Grilled Cornish Game Hens

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    1
    Roughly chop the aromatics. Add to a large stock pot filled 2/3 or so with water. Cover and bring to a boil.
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    Turn down the heat to low. Add two hens to the water. Cover again and allow to just barely simmer for 60 minutes or until completely cooked through. You can check this with a meat thermometer - you're looking for 180 degrees internally.
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    Remove the hens from the water. Allow them to cool until they hold together more easily when handled.
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    Get a charcoal grill hot. (You can use propane too, but it's not as good.) Brush the rack with a little canola oil.
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    Combine melted butter, salt, pepper, rosemary, and lemon juice in a bowl. Brush onto the hens immediately before putting them on the grill.
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    6
    Grill for about 15 minutes to each side. You're not 'cooking' the meat at this point, just getting flavor and color onto it, so use your judgement. You may have to flip them more than once to keep them from burning.
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    7
    Cut the hens in half. Slice or cut enough to serve 4.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking pan
  • Baking rack
  • Paper towels
  • Aluminum foil
  • Basting brush
  • Kitchen shears
  • Meat thermometer
  • Large dish for marinating hens
  • Plastic wrap

Article Info

Categories: Poultry