Cornish Game Hen

I wanted to make something special for Marc since he just got back from a two week long business trip.  What is something yummy and fancy sounding that won’t break the bank?  Cornish Game Hen was my answer.  What is wonderful about Cornish Game Hen?  It is inexpensive, especially when you buy it on sale.  Because of its small size, you can cook it quickly at a high temperature to create a crispy skin and succulent meat.  It is the perfect size for two people.   You don’t have to do to much to make it come out tasting amazing.  I know a lot of people believe in basting their poultry in butter or olive oil, but I don’t.  Chicken skin provides its own natural amount of fat to give great flavor and crispyness as long as you know the correct temperature to cook it at and how to season it.  I served this up with my veggies and mashed potatoes.

Cornish Game Hen Recipe

Place a 10″ skillet in the oven and preheat to 450° F.  Meanwhile, remove giblets from:

1 Cornish Game Hen, 1 1/2-  2 lbs.


Rinse hen under cold running water and pat dry with paper toweles to remove all moisture.  If the bird’s skin is moist, it will not brown easily.  Butterfly the hen by laying it breast side down and cutting out the backbone.  Freeze the backbone for later use in soups or stocks.  Flip the hen over so that it is laying breast side up and lays flat.  Season the hen generously with:

salt
pepper
thyme

If using dried thyme, press herbs firmly to the skin so that it adheres.  If using fresh thyme, insert whole sprigs in between the skin and the breast meat.  Fresh thyme creates a fresh and aromatic flavor and I recommend it if you have it on hand.

When the oven reaches 450 F, carefully remove the skillet from the oven using hot pads.  Place the hen in the skillet breast side up.  The hen will sizzle.  This is good- it will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Place the hen in the oven for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, remove the hen from the oven and flip it breast side down. Return to oven for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, remove hen from oven once more and return it to breast side up.  Lower heat to 400 ° F and return to oven for 20 more minutes.  Remove from oven and cover with tin foil for 10-15 minutes to allow juices to rest.    Cut hen in half down the breast bone and serve one half on each plate.

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