It’s so crazy to realize that Thanksgiving is right around the corner! But, it’s almost here and we have to get use to it. I’m ok with it because it only means Christmas is almost here! If you are thinking about changing things up for your holiday menu, my herb cornish hens with root vegetables are exactly what you’ve been looking for. They are easy, fast, and simple, yet they are incredibly delicious. You don’t want to miss out on this one. So let’s get started.
Why we love Cornish Game Hens:
One thing I absolutely love about Cornish hens is that they are so simple to season and you don’t need to over think or over complicate things. No need to brine, soak or marinate for hours. We are just going to use a simple and easy herb rub to turn these hens into masterpieces.
Another reason why I love this recipe so much is that the hens are spatchcocked or butterflied. No this isn’t just for presentation purchases. Spatchcocking allows for shorter cooking time. What is spatchcocking you ask? Spatchcocking or butterflying the bird is when you remove the backbone of the bird and open it up like the wings of a butterfly (like what I did there huh)?. Ok, maybe that wasn’t as good as I thought it would be so let’s move on.
The benefits of spatchcocking your bird are endless. Faster cooking time, you are able to add seasoning to the inner parts of the bird, it makes for a beautiful presentation, the bird comes out crispy yet tender and well seasoned. Overall, it’s just the best way to cook any bird. Whether it’s a turkey, chicken or hen. Trust me, you will never want to cook your bird any other way.
Oh did I forget to mention you can save the backbone of the bird and use it in soups, stocks, and broth? Yet that’s another benefit of spatchcocking your bird. Nothing goes to waste. Simply save the backbone on a freezer friendly ziplock bag. And when you are making broth, stock or soup, whip out the bag and add the backbone to your soup for extra flavor. It doesn’t get any better than that people.
Herb Cornish Hens w/ Root Vegetables
WHOLE30 II PALEO
So, without further ado, let’s jump into the recipe.
For more Inspiration, check out our other Thanksgiving recipes:Print
Cornish game hens spatchcocked and seasoned with a lemon and herb rub. Then roasted to perfection with root vegetables.
- 2 Cornish hens (about 1.5 lbs each)
- 2 tbsp. Freshly chopped rosemary leaves
- The zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3 garlic cloves (pressed through a garlic press)
- 1 bunch whole carrots (peeled and cut into 1 inch piece)
- 1 large onion (cut into quarters)
- 2 tbsp. Melted grass-fed ghee
- cracked black pepper
FOR THE GRAVY:
- pan drippings
- 1 tsp. Arrowroot starch
- 1 cup bone broth
- kitchen shears
- plastic cutting board
- To begin, preheat the oven to 425˚F.
- Now, to spatchcock the hen, pat the hen dry and place the cornish hens breast side down on a plastic cutting board/clean surface with the legs towards you. Using kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone. Then, turn the hen around and cut along the other side. Remove the backbone and save for soup or stock. Open the hen like a book (breast side up). Use the heel of your palm to press firmly against the breastbone (you may hear a crack) to flatten the hen. Repeat with the other hen.
- Now, mix the rosemary, lemon zest, garlic and salt in a small bowl and rub the mixture all over the hens (making sure you get the herb mixture under the skin and under the wings and legs).
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and scatter the carrots and onion on the pan. Then, transfer the hens to the baking sheet and nestle them between the vegetables.
- Brush the hens and the vegetables with the melted ghee and finish with a few sprinkles of cracked black pepper. Transfer the sheet pan to the oven and roast the hens for 45-50 mins or until the hens are cooked through and golden brown (an instant thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast should read between 165˚F – 170˚F). Remove the hens and the vegetables from the sheet pan and set them aside rest for about 10 minutes.
- While the hens rest, transfer the drippings from the cornish hens to a sauce pan and bring it to a low simmer on the stove top. Add the arrowroot starch to the sauce pan with the drippings and whisk to the combine. Slowly pour the broth into the saucepan and continue to whisk the mixture until it’s welcome combined. Continue to simmer the gravy (stirring frequently) until it’s thickened to your liking.
- Slice the hens and serve them with the vegetables, gravy and cauliflower mash.