Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Dinner; Cornish Hens 3 Types

Any easy dinner to make for two that looks really impressive but is super easy to prepare, Cornish Hens. 

Cornish hens (CH) are a type of chicken that are significantly smaller than the common chicken that you find in the supermarket. 

I’ve prepared these three hens individually, with different recipes to provide some variety  depending on your personal tastes. 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

You will typically find CHs individually packaged. Remove from the plastic and take the gizzards and neck (if included) out of the cavity. Some people use these to make gravy the same way you would with a turkey or regular sized chicken. I personally don’t and just discard them.

After you remove them from their packaging, each of the hens should be rinsed thoroughly with water and patted dry with a paper towel. 

Place the hens in your baking dish ( I like the disposable ones for things like this, easy cleanup is always preferred) 

Season accordingly. 

For the Parsnip Truffle Butter hen, since it didn’t have any liquid in the pan to start I added (1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the pan) 

Bake in the oven at 350, for one hour. Basting the hens every 15 minutes.  

When the hens are done, remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil and allow them to rest for a minimum of 5 minutes before serving. 


Apple Cider Sage and Garlic CH

All you need is:
Apple cider (I used about two cups but I was being overly generous in my pre-oven basting) 
Fresh sage
2 whole peeled cloves of Garlic

Clean and prepare the CH as I described above. 

 Pour the Apple cider all over the CH.
Be sure to both cover the skin and
the inside cavity before filling it with the garlic and sage.
The sugar from the apple cider will caramelize and give the CH a very pretty color once it is done cooking.

Season with Salt and Pepper

Basting is very important with all the CH, but I was slightly hyper-vigilant with this combination because I was terrified that the caramelized sugars would dry out the CH... not the case.

Don't forget to baste! 



Lemon with Herbs de Provence 

What you'll need: 

1-2 Lemons 
(depends on how big they are and how many CHs you are preparing)
Herbs de Provence 
1 whole peeled cloves of Garlic
2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Clean and prepare the CH as I described above.

Cut the lemons in half. 
I decided to thinly slice half of one of my lemons and fill the cavity with that and the garlic. 

Squeeze out the rest of the lemons onto the CH. 
Leave the excess lemon in the dish while it bakes for aromatic purposes. 

Rub the olive oil onto the skin of your CH. 
Sprinkle Herbs de Provence, salt and black pepper onto the CH. 

You may want to consider adding 1/4 cup of water, chicken broth or vegetable broth the the bottom of the pan. 

I did and I was happy with the result. 


Parsnip Garlic, Black Truffle Butter CH 

You'll need:
4 Cipollini onions, peeled and halved
1 Parsnip, peeled and sliced 
Black Truffle Butter 
Fresh Thyme 
2 Teaspoons olive oil

Mix the sliced parsnips with the fresh thyme, olive oil and a little bit of salt. 

Fill the cavity with 1 of the halved Cipollini onions, fill the rest with your herb and parsnip mixture.

Separate the skin from the meat and massage in the truffle butter between the meat and the skin

Season with salt and pepper.

Add 1/4 cup of water, chicken broth or vegetable broth the the bottom of the pan as well as any of the stuffing mixture you have left over and the rest of the onions. 

As you can see on the bottom of the roasting pan, there is a significant amount of liquid left from the cooking process. 

While the CH is resting before I serve it, I like to pour a little of these drippings over the hen. I don't know if it's superstition, or just dumb luck, but every time I do this the meat always comes out incredibly moist.  

Serve with a salad and a few sides and there you have it... 


  1. anything with truffle butter. in my belly. now.

    1. I think I might be slightly addicted... I'm using it on EVERYTHING.

    2. I think I might be slightly addicted... I'm using it on EVERYTHING.