When it comes to making a comfort food meal for two, there is no better than recipe than Roasted Cornish Game Hen and Vegetables. That it is because this complete and nutritious meal is sized perfectly to feed two people.
We have all been in the grocery store and have seen the tiny game hens that are typically sold next to the roaster chickens. But how many of us really know the difference between the game hens and full size chickens, besides the obvious difference in size.
What Is A Cornish Game Hen
First of all, the Cornish Game is a specific breed of chicken. In fact, it is a hybrid cross between two different types of chickens, White Plymouth Rock and the Cornish chicken.
White Plymouth Rock chickens are known for their frequent egg laying skills and develop into full size chickens. On the contrary, Cornish chickens were originally used as game hens for fighting.
However, the chickens weren’t great fighters and therefore ended up being the preferred roasting chicken because of their fast growing muscles.
So when you cross the two breeds, you get a mediocre egg layer with excellent meat for cooking. However, beyond popular belief, they grow up to be full size chickens, not a miniature variety.
That’s right, if let to live their full life, the game hens would be the size of a typical chicken. However, because they are a fast-growing chicken that grows a large breast in a short amount of time, they are typically processed for consumption at the age of 4-5 weeks.
The average size of the game hen is 1-2 pounds where a full size chicken that you find at the grocery is between 4-6 pounds.
Is There A Difference In Taste?
So is there a difference in taste? Although many people think of game meat as tough and chewy, that is not the case here. In fact, these little hens aren’t raised and processed in the wild. Therefore, they are truly not a game meat at all.
Instead, you will find a bird with a high volume of breast meat that is super tender and mild tasting. Even more mild than a standard chicken.
Although most people wouldn’t recognize the difference between the taste without really paying attention. Therefore, when someone tells you that it ‘tastes like chicken’, it really does.
So now that you know the difference, you can certainly understand why the smaller variety is the perfect meal for two people!
Roasted Cornish Game Hen & Vegetables Recipe
*A printable recipe card is located at the bottom of this article which contains the specific measurements, temperatures and cook times. However, continue reading below to learn about more helpful tips about this specific recipe.
- Cornish game hen
- Olive oil, divided
- Dried rosemary
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- Dried thyme
- Garlic powder
- Potato, cut in 1-2 inch sections
- Carrots, cut in 1-2 inch sections chopped
- Onion, cut in wedges
- Rosemary and Thyme sprigs
The first step in making a Roasted Cornish Game Hen and Vegetables is to preheat the oven and spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with olive oil spray. Then set the pan aside and prepare the chicken.
First of all you must start with a thawed game hen. They are frequently sold as frozen and will require being thawed in the refrigerator for a day or two before cooking.
Remove the plastic wrap from the bird and reach in the cavity to remove the innards and discard. Then pat the game hen dry with paper towels, including inside the cavity.
Next rub both sides of the game hen with olive oil. Be sure to use olive oil and not extra virgin olive oil because the hen will be roasted at a very high temperature which requires a high smoke point oil.
You could also use avocado or grapeseed oil instead. Be sure to rub the entire hen and inside the cavity with the oil. Set the chicken aside while you prepare the seasoning mixture.
Dry Rub Seasoning
In a small bowl mix the rosemary, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic powder until evenly incorporated. Then sprinkle the seasoning all over both sides of the game hen and inside the cavity.
Place the hen, breast side up, in the prepared baking dish, tucking the point of the wings down before it is roasted. Now prepare the vegetables.
After cutting the vegetables in 1-2 inch sections, place them in a medium bowl. Then drizzle the veggies with the remaining olive oil and season with salt & pepper to taste.
Now place the vegetables in the baking dish around the game hen. Before placing the baking dish in the oven, reduce the heat by 50°F and immediately place the baking dish on the middle rack in the oven.
Bake for approximately an hour or until the internal temperature inserted in the center of the breast reaches 165°F with checked with an instant read digital food thermometer.
Once the safe consumption temperature has been reached, remove the baking dish from the oven and let the roasted Cornish game hen rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I Use Other Vegetables? – You can use whatever vegetables that you prefer. However be sure to add them in the pan based on the time that it takes the vegetables to become tender but not over done. The vegetables that are best to roast for an hour are root vegetables like sweet potatoes, turnip and carrots and large winter squash varieties such as butternut squash.
2. Can I Use A Small Roaster Chicken Instead? – Although you can use a standard, small size chicken, you will need to increase the cook time to make sure that the chicken is cooked properly. Therefore it may be best to add your vegetables to the pan after the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes. Or check out this Oven Roasted Chicken Recipe instead.
3. How Do I Store Leftovers? Store any leftovers from your roasted Cornish Game Hen and Vegetables in a closed container in the refrigerator. They will remain good for up to 4-5 days.
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- 1 Cornish game hen
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large potato, cut in 1-2 inch sections
- 4 baby carrots, cut in 1-2 inch sections chopped
- 1/2 onion, cut in 6 wedges
- Rosemary and Thyme sprigs
- 1/2 lemon
- Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with olive oil spray. Set aside.
- Remove the innards from the game hen and discard. Pat the game hen dry with paper towels, including the cavity. Rub 1 tablespoon on both sides of the game hen.
- Mix the rosemary, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic powder together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning all over both sides of the game hen and in the cavity. Place, breast side up in the prepared baking dish, tucking the point of the wings down.
- In a medium bowl, add the cut vegetables with drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Place the vegetables in the baking dish around the game hen. Reduce the oven heat to 400°F and immediately place the baking dish on the middle rack.
- Bake 55-65 minutes or until the internal temperature inserted in the center of the breast reaches 165°F with checked with an instant read digital food thermometer.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe provided by iCookfortwo.com
Nutrition InformationYield 2
Amount Per Serving Calories 620Total Fat 37gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 26gCholesterol 168mgSodium 430mgCarbohydrates 39gFiber 5gSugar 4gProtein 33g