What exactly is a cornish game hen?
It’s a tiny little fowl and it looks and tastes much like a miniature chicken. Cornish game hens are one of Hot Kitchen’s long time favorites to eat.
The advantage of cooking with cornish game hens is that each bird is a nearly perfect serving size for one person. The texture is tender and juicy, the flavor a bit stronger than chicken, but still mild enough for even the pickiest of eaters to savor.
They can be cooked however you would cook a chicken. They behave in much the same way and roast in about the same amount of time.
Tips for delicious Cornish Game Hens:
- Rinse them well inside and out with cool running water.
- Roast Low and Slow to achieve mouth-watering tenderness and falling off the bone meats.
- Truss them, or at the very least tie their legs together and tuck the wings behind the neck.
- Give the hens a little space in the oven. What I mean is don’t shove them together when they roast, or they won’t come out fully cooked.
Since they are a mild white meat, Cornish Game Hens are the equivalent of a black canvas for a cook. Here at Hot Kitchen we take our game hens seriously, and have experimented with all kinds of ways of cooking them. While we haven’t filmed every way we’ve tried them, in the past we’ve enjoyed them the most these ways:
- Brined and slow roasted.
- Sliced in half, marinated in salsa verde and grilled.
- Stuffed: we’ve done cornbread, wild rice, traditional white bread stuffing, filled with herbs, stuffed with a blend of cheeses, nut, and greens.
- Dry Roasted with a nice herb rub.
Hot Kitchen’s preferred method of dry roasting poultry is the most common way we enjoy game hens. The process is ridiculously simple. After rinsing, rub the bird inside and out with salt, pepper, and other herbs and spices. Tie the legs, tuck the wings behind the neck and then roast at 425 degrees for ten minutes, or until fat beads up on the skin. Brush the skin with a bit of butter, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Brush it as it roasts with the drippings in the pan. You can flip it a couple times as it roasts if you like. I feel that flipping gives a better, less greasy result to the tender dark meat on it’s back.
Hot Kitchen has featured two Cornish Game Hen themed menus in it’s library.
- Episode #6 (vintage Hot Kitchen): Little Chickens, wild rice pilaf, sauteed Asparagus. This recipe is currently included in our cookbook Date Night at Home: Recipes for Two
- Episode #67: Brined Game Hens with Chevre Dressing, Spaghetti Spirals with Herbed Dressing, and and awesome Greens and Apple salad.