Lemon Sage Cornish Game Hens might become your “go-to” meal during this time of social distancing. Smaller feasts are not lesser feasts. In fact, wouldn’t you like a feast with fewer dishes to wash? I say yes!
Cornish game hens are a funny bird in that they are not game birds, and they are not necessarily hens. Bred for single servings, the meat is mild, juicy and succulent. If you have been battling it out with a big dry turkey bird in former holidays, Cornish game hens are an upgrade. Never dry and never any leftovers!
If you are a novice chef, Lemon Sage Cornish Game Hens are almost foolproof. Trussing the legs and lacing the poultry skin with fresh sage leaves will make you look like a celebrity chef, even though these are easy techniques!
Also, if you want to add stuffing to your Lemon Sage Cornish Game Hens you will have to increase the cooking time to 90 minutes to ensure the birds are completely cooked. Stuffed poultry takes longer to fully roast. If you see that the skin is getting too brown during the extended roasting, simply place a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top of the hens. The foil will reflect the heat from burning the skin while allowing the meat to continue to roast.
Serve with a Bold Wine
Although you might think that all poultry needs a white wine, I would serve Lemon Sage Cornish Game Hens with a spicy red tempranillo or even a full bodied burgundy. Holiday feasts are always lush, rich and spicy, flavored with cinnamon, herbs and black pepper, so look for a wine pairing that doesn’t wither away next to your meal.
No matter how many people share your holiday table, make sure you serve something special! I wish you a beautiful holiday! Enjoy!Print
Lemon Sage Cornish Game Hens
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Roasting
2 Cornish game hens, about 2lbs/1 kg per hen
Fresh sage leaves, about 14
2 tbsp. butter (30g), room temperature
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.
This looks so attractive and sounds delicious. I have made Cornish hens before and considered them for Thanksgiving but ended up with farm-raised pheasant. I am going to put this recipe on my list for Christmas. Thanks