Sage Lemon-Butter Cornish Game Hen | Recipe| Roasted Cornish Game Hen

I usually get a good chuckle whenever I take pictures for the blog.  Our typical weeknight consists of Mr. Stranded sitting at the table at the edge of hit seat, his stomach growling, utensils in hand ready to dive in as soon as I'm done taking a picture.  It is for this reason that I don't fuss with presentation on an average weeknight, nor worry about the quality of my photo.  Don't get my wrong - I try.  But my man needs to be fed.  I'm sure my in-laws can picture this scene!  Each time I post photos to the blog I start laughing picturing poor, old, hungry Mr. Stranded.

OK, so onto Cornish game hens.  These are so simple to prepare and cook much faster than a regular oven-stuffer roaster.  The trick to cooking this (or any type of complete bird for that matter) is getting all the great flavors between the skin and the meat, otherwise the unhealthy skin tastes amazing, but the meat will be bland.

The milk functions as a tenderizer.  If you don't have time to soak the hen, don't worry about it.  Just baste it more often while it's roasting.

In my rush to get the hens in the oven and myself on the treadmill (yes, it's my way of multi-tasking), I completely forgot to salt and pepper the hens before applying the sage lemon-butter mixture.  Try not to forget this step or you'll be thinking, "Oh, this is pretty good" instead of "Wow! This is great!"  Isn't it amazing how a little salt and pepper go a long way?

Sage Lemon-Butter Cornish Game Hen Recipe
Yields: 2 cornish game hens

2 Cornish game hens, 1-1/2 lbs each, giblets removed
1/2 c milk
3 Tbsp Greek or plain yogurt
3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp thyme
10 sage leaves, chopped, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 lemon
8-10 sage leaves, whole

1. Wash hens well, inside and out.  If they have a yellow film, remove it using the edge of a knife.
2. Combine milk and yogurt.  Stir well to combine.  Place hens in a large bowl and coat completely with the milk mixture.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours.  (If you're short on time, you can skip this step.)
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Remove hens from fridge and allow to sit in the milk mixture at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.  In the meantime, combine butter, ground sage, thyme, 6 chopped sage leaves, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Stir well until it forms an almost paste-like consistency. 
4. Separate skin from meat, but do not remove the skin.  Using a small spatula, spread a thin layer of sage lemon-butter between the meat and the skin, covering all areas.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, both the outside skin and inside cavity.  Coat the outside skin with remaining sage lemon-butter.
5. Place 4-5 sage leaves and 1/2 lemon into the inside cavity of each bird.  Truss chicken legs and fold wings under towards the back so they will not burn.  Place hens in a roasting pan.
6. Place roasting pan in the oven, breast side up, and roast 35 minutes.  Turn hens over and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.
7. Remove hens from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, remove lemons from cavity and squeeze lemon juice into any accumulated juices in the roasting pan. Bring to a boil and reduce liquid by half.  Mix in remaining chopped sage and cook 1 minute.  Serve sauce alongside hens or drizzle on top of hens.


Miss T said... [Reply]

that's hilarious! Hairy is the same - so I usually just serve his first before I take photos - I guess that wouldn't work with a whole hen! cudos @ the treadmill!