Rosemary Garlic Cornish Hen

20150615_192725One thing I do not love about living in a Midwestern suburb is that what I can cook is vastly ruled by what I can find in a store.  Some days shopping for a specific recipe involves going to multiple grocery stores and multiple specialty stores and still not finding the ingredients I need.  For example: it is impossible to find fresh seafood for a reasonable price.  Shellfish?  Crab?  Lobster?  Forget about it.  Unless I want to spend an actual bazillion dollars and still have questionably fresh seafood.

So when my grocery store suddenly has a pile of cornish game hens, I buy a whole bunch.  I am obsessed.  What can be more impressive than serving dinner and everyone gets their own little chicken?

Other than the impressive quantity of little chicken, my other favorite part of this recipe is the huge quantity of roasted garlic.  For one thing, the house smells amazing.  When you finally get to eat it, the garlic is creamy and luscious and is perfect in the gravy.

One of my favorite ways to serve this (though not pictured) is with a side of fresh pasta, simply tossed in olive oil and parmesan.  The pasta soaks up the extra gravy so that no bit of deliciousness gets left behind.  And of course, and glass of whatever wine you use in the sauce.

So go make this impressive, and remarkably simple, dish and make everyone think you are a cooking genius.  You don’t have to tell them how easy it was.  I’ll keep your secret. 😉


  • 2 cornish hens, washed and patted dry
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 tsp dry rosemary
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 13 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 T olive oil separated


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Set your chicken with the breast side up on your board.  Use one finger to carefully separate the skin from the chicken, without tearing it.  In a small bowl, whisk together the butter (Make sure it  is soft!), dry rosemary, one garlic clove (finely minced), and juice from 1/4 of the lemon.  Using two finger, carefully put the butter mixture in between the skin and the breast of each chicken.  Next, take 1/4 of the lemon and 1 sprig of fresh rosemary and insert it in the cavity of each chicken.  Finally, rub the hens with one tablespoon of the olive oil, then salt and pepper.

Set the remaining 12 cloves of garlic in a roasting pan.  Place each chicken in the pan, breasts up, so that the cloves are covered by the chickens.  This is important, because if the chickens are not on top of the garlic it will burn!  Roast for 25 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting, mix  together the chicken stock, wine, and remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  After the 25 minutes, pour the broth mix over the chickens and reduce the oven to 350 degrees.  Cook for another 25 minutes, basting the chicken every 10.

When the chicken is done, remove from the oven.  Take the chickens out of the pan an cover in tin foil.  Dump the pan juices and all the garlic into a skillet and reduce by about half, or until it reaches desired sauce consistency.

Serve by putting the gravy on the plate first, and the chicken on top (so as to keep the skin crispy!)



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