Had it not been for seeing my post-college roommate prepare this dish one night 7 or 8 years ago, I never ever would have thought to try roasting a cornish hen at home. I was an extremely novice home cook at the time, and cooking a whole anything (chicken, hen, you name it) sounded absolutely terrifying. But after watching how easy this was to prep and smelling the aroma of the spices as they permeated our beloved Chicago apartment (loved that old 1920s building...), I knew I had to try it. Sure enough, it was so much easier than I expected (no carving involved!). It came from one of those small, grocery check-out lane, impulse magazines titled "Easy Meals for Two" after all, and they were right - pretty darn easy and pretty darn impressive. My fiance (now husband) and I absolutely loved this dish the first time we tried it several years ago, so I was beyond thrilled when I happened to stumble across this recipe in my binder just a few days ago so we could enjoy it once again.
Notes: The spice rub for this dish is fantastic and one that I plan to use on mixed vegetables as a side dish. I'm guessing they would pair nicely with pork, steak, or other chicken dishes. Additionally, the original recipe only served 2, so I doubled it here for a family of 4, leftovers, or in case you're really, really hungry. If you want this to serve 2, just use one hen, cut everything in half, and bake for about 40-50 mins in an 11x7 (2 quart) baking dish.
Roast Cornish Hens with Vegetables
- 2 cornish hens, 24 oz. each (thawed if frozen)
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
- 4 small red potatoes, quartered
- 2 small green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray or brush with olive oil.
2. Remove and discard neck and giblets from hens (Some come with them already removed, like mine did. Score!). With kitchen shears, cut hens in half and place skin side up in roasting pan.
3. In a large bowl mix garlic salt, chili powder, ginger, cumin, and oil. Brush hens with 2 tablespoons of the oil/spice mixture.
4. Add the sweet potatoes, red potatoes, and bell peppers to the bowl of the remaining oil/spice mixture, toss to coat, and arrange vegetables around the hen halves in the roasting pan.
5. Bake 45-50 minutes or until hen halves are fork tender, juices run clear, and vegetables are tender. Serve and enjoy. The meat will easily pull away from the bones with a fork (or fingers!). No carving needed!
*Recipe adapted from the magazine, "Easy Meals for Two". Unfortunately, I have no idea who wrote it since I discovered this recipe almost 8 yrs ago. My apologies!