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is_single - yes
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is_allowed - no
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Oven roasted Cornish game hens

Judith Papesh, Contributor
Wine Pairings:  

Cornish hens are fun to prepare and have a bit of an air of sophistication as each guest savors the delectable little bird. Lemon, garlic and herbs form both a seasoning and a roasting platform that creates a delightful, savory dinner.

An aged white wine might be a standard choice for Cornish game hens, but we have selected the Nalle Winery 2019 Ranch Red for a twist. The Ranch Red is predominantly Zinfandel with a touch of Carignan and Petit Sirah. Loaded with berries, spices and a healthy acidity, flavors that will complement the deep character developed by roasting the garlic, herbs and lemon.

Ingredients

  • 3 large lemons
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped, reserve 10 small sprigs for the roasting pan
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped, reserve 10 small sprigs for the roasting pan
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon paprika 
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 2 Cornish game hens, giblets removed 
  • 2 cups chicken broth 
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

Steps

1.

Juice 1 lemon; Cut 1 lemon into 4 wedges. Cut the last lemon into thick slices. Set aside. 

2.

Place the lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and 8 garlic cloves into a food processor; process until the garlic is finely chopped and mixture is well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes.

3.

Rub the lemon garlic mixture evenly over Cornish hens and inside the cavities. Put 2 lemon wedges and 1 garlic clove into the cavity of each hen.

4.

In a large roasting pan, arrange the rosemary and thyme sprigs evenly about the pan. Set the hens and on top of herb sprigs and top with a few lemon slices. Let the hens rest uncovered at room temperature for 1 hour.

5.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Set the rack in a medium position.

6.

Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and cook the hens for 25 minutes.

7.

After 25 minutes remove the foil and add the chicken broth to the roasting pan. With the pan uncovered, continue roasting until the hens are golden brown and a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of meat registers 165° F, about another 25 to 30 minutes.

8.

Remove the pan from oven and leave the hens to rest in pan at room temperature for 5 minutes then move them to a cutting board to rest an additional 5 minutes.

9.

To make the lemon garlic sauce

With the hens resting, reserve the roasted lemon slices and strain the liquid from the roasting pan into a small saucepan; discard the solids. Over medium heat, bring the juice to a low boil, then remove from the heat and whisk in the cubed butter until smooth. Season with salt as needed.

10.

To serve: Cut each hen in half lengthwise and place on a warmed plate. Serve with roasted lemon halves and lemon garlic sauce.

Chef Image

About Judith Papesh, Contributor