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Roasted Cornish Hens

Roasted Cornish Hens



  •  Cornish Hens hens patted dry
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic minced

Herb Butter:

  • 5 tablespoons butter softened, not melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • fresh thyme to taste
  • salt and pepper generous amounts


  • 8 oz brussels sprouts
  • 2 sweet potatoes medium
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the poultry

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pat dry Cornish hens in and out with paper towels.

Rub the insides of Cornish hens with salt and pepper. Stuff the insides with minced garlic.

Make herb butter

In a bowl, combine 5 tablespoons of softened (not melted) butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, Italian seasoning, fresh thyme, and generous amounts of salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.

Place Cornish hens breast sides up in a large roasting pan or ovenproof braising dish, used a 3.5 quart Staub cast-iron pan.

Rub this herb mixture all over the outside of Cornish hens. Sprinkle the outside (breast side) of cornish hens with a small amount of additional Italian seasoning and sprinkle with more salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Roast Cornish hens

Roast Cornish hens at 400 Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

During these 15 minutes, while the cornish hens are baked, prepare the vegetables. Remove yellow leaves from Brussels sprouts and slice each in half. Peel the sweet potatoes (medium size) and cut them into cubes.

After the Cornish hens have cooked for 15 minutes, remove the roasting pan from the oven. Add cubed sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts (halved) to the bottom of the pan. Raise the cornish hens and add some sweet potatoes underneath the birds. As you do this, mix the veggies with the butter and the juices released from the birds. Arrange the veggies around the birds. Sprinkle veggies with more salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rub the outside (breast side) of Cornish hens with more butter (1 tablespoon or more).

Roast the Cornish hens for about 40 more minutes, until an instant meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165 °F. Make sure the thermometer does not touch the bone. Also, use the meat thermometer before the 40 minutes up (after the first 25 or 30 minutes).

Remove the hens from the oven and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Transfer baked Cornish hens and roasted vegetables to a platter. 

Serve Cornish hens whole or cut in half. Decorate with fresh thyme sprigs.