Lemon Sage Cornish Game Hens



2 Cornish game hens, about 2lbs/1 kg per hen

Fresh sage leaves, about 14

2 tbsp. butter (30g), room temperature

1 lemon

Salt, pepper, or your favorite seasoning blend

Cotton string for trussing


Heat your oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Place the uncooked hens in the parchment lined pans and pat the skin of the hens dry with a paper towel. Cut 2 lengths of cotton string, about 10”/25cm each. Tie a string to one leg of each hen.

Slide sage leaves under the skin of the breast of the hen, using 2-4 sage leaves per hen. Use your fingers to pull and loosen the outer skin away from the breast meat so you can insert the leaves. 

Cut the lemon into quarters. Slice one quarter to use as a garnish and set aside. Place one quarter lemon inside the cavity of the hen along with 2 sage leaves. Use the last quarter lemon to squeeze lemon juice over both hens. 

Take the string and truss together the legs of the hen. Place a sage leaf on top of the hen and then garnish with a slice of lemon, using a toothpick to keep them in place. Place a dollop of the butter on top of the hen and then season with salt, pepper or your favorite seasoning blend. (I used flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.)

Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour. The hens are cooked when the juices are no longer pink but clear and a meat thermometer reads 165°F (74°C). Remove the hens from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.