Juicy, herb-roasted Cornish hens smothered with vegetables and garlic

I hadn’t eaten Cornish hens in several years, so, I picked up two at my local grocery store. But, for a change, I wanted to do something creative with them–not just a simple roast and turn them over and we’re done. No particular recipe caught my eye in my chicken cookbook and elsewhere, but for a moment I saw a familiar mix of ingredients browsing the internet, and I thought I could expand on them adding other foods.

I pat dried the hens with paper towels, draining out any juices too. I then thoroughly rubbed about two tablespoons of olive oil over them. Next, I sprinkled them generously with salt and pepper, and heavily added dried thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage and dill. I set the Cornish hens aside. I preheated the oven to 425 F.

I scoured my refrigerator for 5 carrots, a large onion, a few scallions, and several stalks of celery. I also thought this would be an ideal time to use up the half head of green cabbage still looking good. I cut everything up in fairly large pieces. I cut out the thick core of the cabbage, and chopped that up coarsely too. I tossed all these veggies together, and decided to add in 3 cloves of garlic, sliced. I added about a 1/2 teaspoon salt and nearly that amount of pepper. In a 3 quart corning ware pan, I rubbed one tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom and sides of the pan.

In a random manner, but evenly, I spread out the vegetables in the pan. I topped them with the seasoned Cornish hens. I put the uncovered pan in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. After 40 minutes I basted the hen with the accumulating juices and added two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. I basted it several times throughout its cooking time. If I felt it was getting too brown, I covered the dish.

I love baked potatoes, and put one next to the pan once I rubbed it with a bit of olive oil when the cooking time was down to one hour. My husband made grits for himself; it’s his latest passion, a familiar dish he remembers from childhood. The Cornish hen was fall-off-the-bone tender, and succulent. Naturally the juices from the hen dripped on the vegetables adding deep savory flavor. The cooked cabbage complimented the other vegetables with a bit of sweetness. I never had to remove the garlic; it just disintegrated adding some piquant flavor. I mixed the vegetables with my potatoes, and my husband added the veggies to his grits and enjoyed the flavorful juices swimming in his smooth grits! Although quite a simple meal; it satisfied both of us.

Share with me your favorite recipe for Cornish hens. Might you add a lemon, or whole small onion, even a head of garlic, in the hens’ cavity? I thought of these ideas afterwards. I plan on making Cornish hens again, and not waiting several years to do it. My husband and I gobbled down this dish so fast, I totally forgot to take a picture! That will be next time.

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