Most have heard of Cornish game hens, but few seem to want to try cooking them. If you’ve never eaten them, they may sound complicated. If you’re anything like me, those more exotic sounding meats always seem a little too complicated, not to mention time-consuming, to try at home.
I’ve been eating Cornish game hens my entire life. I know it’s not at all difficult to roast this tasty little bird.
First, understand that cornish game hens are not at all gamey. That’s because they are just like the chicken you’re used to eating, only juicier. A store bought Cornish game hen is nothing more than a cross of a white Cornish hen and a leghorn or other common farm bird. They are compact little birds, juicy and perfect for an impressive – and easy – presentation.
This is the easiest recipe I know, and outrageously tasty.
Unwrap your Cornish game hens and remove the giblets. Wash, and butter them liberally, salt and pepper skins to taste. Cornish game hens are so juicy, the butter isn’t entirely necessary, but it does help create that golden brown skin we all love. A few pats of butter also flavors the basting juices.
Stuff the cornish hens with an easy cornbread stuffing recipe. Cover them with a single layer of tin foil. Pop them in the oven in the pan of your choice with a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan, just enough to cover the bottom. I prefer a deep glass pan, or better yet, use stoneware. Pampered Chef stoneware works very well. Roast them at 350 degrees for one hour fifteen minutes to one and a half hours. The best way to know Cornish hens are done is to take hold of a tiny drumstick and wiggle. If it feels loose rather than tight, the Cornish hens are done. You can also poke them in the thigh to see if the juices run clear, but who wants to waste the juice?
For best browning, do take off the foil, or stoneware top, for the last twenty minutes of roasting. Baste the birds with the meat juices. Be prepared to chase off uninvited taste testers, because the smell of these little birds cooking is irresistible.
You’re done! Just let the Cornish hens cool a bit and present.
Flavor the Cornish hens by basting with orange juice.
Blend the orange juice with mango and pour the mixture over the birds while roasting. Present with slices of mango.
Try apricots in your cornbread stuffing.