Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Citrus-Riesling Sauce
Cornish game hens in the USA are any young chicken between 1 and 2 pounds. One hen per person is the usual serving size.
This recipe is easy to prepare, yet elegant enough to serve to guests.
What you’ll need:
2 Cornish game hens
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 small sprigs of rosemary for stuffing the hens
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 large garlic cloves, whole for stuffing the hens
Grated zest of ½ lemon and ½ orange – save the other halves for stuffing
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 Tablespoon melted butter
½ cup good quality Riesling wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons flour
Oven (roasting) bag*
- Prepare the birds by washing inside and out and checking for any left-over feather parts. Dry them well.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Lower the oven racks to bottom ¼ of the oven.
- Chop the rosemary leaves and place them in a bowl. Zest the orange and lemon and add to the rosemary.
- Mix together the crushed garlic, citrus juices, wine, melted butter, a little salt and olive oil. Add to the bowl with the rosemary and zests and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Cut the saved halves of the orange and lemon into quarters or smaller. Place them inside the hen along with 1 small rosemary sprig and 2 whole garlic cloves for each hen. It’s just like stuffing a turkey, but you are using fruit and veggies instead!
- Truss hens with kitchen string. This keeps the hen intact while roasting and keeps it from drying out. If you’ve never trussed a bird, check it out on you-tube. It’s easy!
- Sprinkle at least 2 Tablespoons of flour into an oven bag (Reynolds makes them) and shake the bag so that the flour coats the inside of the bag. Place the bag into a roasting pan and slide both trussed hens inside the bag.
- Pour the prepared sauce over the birds, season with salt and pepper, close the bag. Poke holes in the top of the bag as per directions.
- Place hens in a preheated oven on the lowered rack. Roast hens for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes (according to the size of the birds) until golden on top. Oven bags shorten cooking time and naturally moisten what you cook.
- When done, remove the hens from the oven and let them set at room temperature for 10 minutes before removing from bag.
- When ready to serve, remove hens from the bag, and serve with the sauce that has accumulated in the bottom. It will be naturally thickened because of the flour and is delicious! You can serve the sauce spooned over the hens or on the side. Enjoy!
*If you don’t have a roasting bag, eliminate the flour and place the birds on a small rack in a roasting pan. You will then cover the birds for most of the cooking time, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of roasting.