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What to make tonight with a single cornish game hen?

There's a single cornish game hen sitting in my fridge, since my housemate bought several last week but didn't end up cooking one of them. I want to do something with it, so it won't go to waste. I don't want to do anything too complicated, since I'm hoping for a somewhat quick weeknight dinner. But at the same time, I don't want to simply throw it in a soup or something, since it seems like that might be a waste of a very nice cornish game hen.

Any suggestions for easy cornish game hen recipes that I could make? It could be an appetizer potentially?

Dave MP

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  1. Butterfly that cute little bird. Make a mix of minced fresh garlic, white worchestershire sauce, green tabasco, a little cumin, thyme, and olive oil, and rub it down. Then roast it next to some nice winter vegetables in a high-ish temp oven (375 or so F, preferably convecting), have it with a nice salad and some wine.

    How many are eating? If it's two, cut the little guy in half as a first course.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rcallner

      There are two of us eating, so whatever we do, we'll cut it in half for a first course. Your rub sounds good, and thanks for the tip about the convection oven (which I do have, but don't normally use!)

    2. I'd just roast it like you would a chicken. I did that recently (with a quarter lemon inside because... well, they *are* small) and it turned out lovely. Juicy, succulent, crispy skin... like a personal chicken :-)

      2 Replies
      1. re: linguafood

        How long do they have to roast for? I assume not as long as chicken since they are small.

        I have some preserved lemons that I made last spring, so perhaps I will stuff it with that! And roast it over some onions and carrots....

        1. re: Dave MP

          I think it took all of 45 minutes at 375, plus resting time.

      2. I'm all for roasting them over root vegetables or at least chopped onions, carrots, & celery. I cook mine in a cast iron skillet with a glass lid, the skin is not crispy but I like to keep all the wonderful flavors to drip into the vegetables.

        But I rub mine with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Crockett67

          If I go with the roasting method in the skillet, then I don't use the oven at all? Or do you finish it in the skillet?

          1. re: Dave MP

            Sorry, while in a skillet, it's baked in an oven. 375F check after 45 minutes using thermometer reading 170F (too little residual heat to bring it up the last five degrees), but if you have a probe use that.

        2. You could try Olive-Olive Cornish Hen from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

          Spatchcock a Cornish hen and remove breast bone. Work black olive tapenade (oil cured olives, anchovies, rosemary, lemon, piment d'espelette, thyme, and olive oil) under the skin of the breast and thighs. Rub with olive oil, squirt with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook at 500F for 25-30 minutes. We finished the hen under the broiler to get crisp skin. The tapenade adds a nice earthiness and gives the hen a little something extra. Little effort, quick to make, and tasty.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BigSal

            That Olive-Olive Cornish Hen is absolutely my favorite prep for those little birds. Don't forget the lemon juice!

          2. I spatchcock them, rub with lemon olive oil and paprika, then grill or roast till done and serve with cous cous,preserved lemons and salty black olives. Yum.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sedimental

              Yup - I LOVE spatchcocking those little devils. They cook up nice & juicy & crisp-skinned. As for sides? Anything you'd normally enjoy with a roast chicken.

              1. re: Bacardi1

                I love the versatility. I have one now marinating in miso, sake, ginger and a bit of palm sugar. I will roast it up with a side of white rice sprinkled with scallions tomorrow. Perfect sized dinner for two that always feels like it took more work and effort than it really did, if you know what I mean. I always keep several in the freezer.

            2. get all conceptual, invite 2 more people and have tiny twee OCD food. baby vegetables, deviled quail eggs, edible flowers in a wanton wrapper floating in a clear broth...

              and place an order for pizza.

              I'd roast as it's so dang easy and Cornish can be served a bit on the rare side (yet I still hate that texture after the pink chicken of childhood) the rub and lemon stuffing are good tips although I don't know if I'd do rcallner's tabasco and worcestershire, but thyme rosemary and olive oil are never wrong but then again I usually use whim as my guide.

              1. Thanks again to everyone who suggested ideas.

                The convection function on my oven didn't work, so I used the regular baking setting at 375. I washed and dried the hen, then rubbed on some olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I stuffed it with some preserved lemon and some slices of fennel, and cooked it for about 45 minutes, perhaps a bit longer. I tried to use a thermometer to check the temperature, but found this difficult since it was so small....but basically I stopped cooking it when it was nicely browned on the top.

                Once out, I un-stuffed the preserved lemons and rubbed them on the hen to add more salty/lemon flavor, and then I cut it up and ate a bit. By this point, we had already eaten dinner completely, so this bird was a mini-dessert (and will also be my lunch tomorrow!) -- the meat was tender and moist, and it was true that cooking it required almost no effort at all!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Dave MP

                  Correction: my housemate just came home, and I decided to let her eat the leftover hen (since she bought it, after all...) She said it was delicious.

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    Sounds great! And that is so my idea of dessert!

                  2. Halve the bird. In heavy fry pan, not cast iron, saute a medium sweet fine chopped onion in sunflower or corn oil. Med. heat. Add bird halves. When sizzling add some small button mushrooms. When bird is colored add a med. tin of chopped tomatoes with teaspoon of sugar. Add small tin of sliced black olives including the water. Simmer for a few minutes. Add a glass of the best red wine you can and a sprig of fresh thyme and a bay leaf. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and some fresh ground black pepper. Cover and stew over low heat for about forty minutes or until the bird is tender Remove the bird and reduce the sauce until it's to your liking. Adjust seasoning. Dry-fry or toast some thick rounds of rustic bread until the edges just blacken. That's what it's supposed to look like. Serve the bird halves and some sauce on top of the toasted bread. Save the bread till last. This is a Bulgarian recipe from an old cook book. I've prepared this a few times and it really really delicious.