Recipe - Herb Roasted Cornish Game Hen
Cruising throughout the Caribbean and Bahamas over the years, we have found that Cornish Game Hens are a popular item in the freezer sections of most grocery stores both large and small in the islands. They are compact, reasonably priced and make a very impressive meal when you want a Sunday Roast, a celebratory dinner or to treat guests on board.
Our New York friends, Nick and Jennifer, first introduced us to the versatility of Cornish Game Hens as excellent items to include in your provisioning list on our very first cruise to the Bahamas in 1989/90. They had a small freezer on board their boat, SV Moonrise, but the hens are small so they stuffed a few into the box to have for special occasions at anchor. They roasted them plain or basted them with orange juice, stuffed them with wild rice or regular stuffing – a variety of ways. We were sold!
We didn't have a freezer on our first boat like they did but we would buy one or two frozen Cornish Game Hens which would keep in the fridge for several days as they thawed out.
Two people can generally share one Cornish Game Hen but it is not unreasonable to serve each person at the table a small hen each.
Cornish Game Hens generally can be found in weights from 16 to 20 oz. and can be prepared, dressed and stuffed just as you would a regular chicken. I can barely tell the difference in taste and they're quicker to cook and prepare than a large chicken. Paul and I always split one, even a 16 oz.
Herb Roasted Cornish Game Hen
1 Cornish Game Hen per 1-2 people depending on appetite level and size of hen.
Butter or olive oil for basting
1 slice of lemon per hen (optional)
1 garlic clove peeled per hen (optional)
1 bay leaf per hen (optional)
Your favourite dried or fresh herb(s), if desired. (e.g. Oregano, rosemary, or poultry seasoning)
Salt and pepper
If frozen, thaw before cooking.
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C)
Basic: Season with salt and pepper inside and out.
Herb Roasted: Season with salt, pepper and herbs inside and out. In cavity, stuff a slice of lemon (about 1/8 - ¼ lemon), a peeled garlic clove, and a small bay leaf.
Lightly rub outside with olive oil or butter.
Truss (tie up the wings and the legs) as you would a chicken, if you wish.
Place breast side up in a roasting pan or casserole dish.
Roast uncovered, basting frequently with butter, oil and natural juices as the hen roasts. If the hen weighs over 18 oz (1 lb, 2 oz) cook for 1 hour 15 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of hen is pierced and temperature on an meat thermometer reads 180 F.
To brown, increase temperature to 400 F during last 10 minutes.
To make gravy I use a gravy mix made with the vegetable water and de-fatted juices from the pan. Quick and easy!
Serve with steamed vegetables and roast potatoes.
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