I love a well-roasted bird, but sometimes dealing with an entire chicken is just too much for a weeknight. I try to make plans to repurpose the leftovers, but it doesn’t always work out (aka a husband who likes to eat it straight from the fridge). Enter Cornish game hens. These little birds are so cute and petite, and, let’s be honest…sometimes we want to pretend we’re the Hound from Game of Thrones and eat an entire chicken by ourselves. The best part is they only take about an hour! The key is to split them in half; doing so helps cook them faster and ensures the skin gets nice and crisp all over.
Herby, buttery, garlicky, and with perfectly crisp skin!
- 2 Cornish game hens, approx 20 oz each
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp lemon zest blood orange zest also works well!
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Using kitchen shears, split the hens down the breast to form halves. Pat dry.
In a small bowl, mix butter, herbs, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper into a paste. Divide into four equal portions.
Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the meat to create a “pocket.” Insert butter and herb paste into the pocket and gently massage with your fingertips to spread the butter evenly under the skin. Repeat for the remaining halves.
Arrange hens on a baking sheet or roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Massage oil into skin and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roast for 40-45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.