Herb Cornish Hens w/ Root Vegetables

  • Author: charlottesmyth
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: thanksgiving, Whole30
  • Cuisine: American


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




  1. To begin, preheat the oven to 425˚F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Slice the hens and serve them with the vegetables, gravy and cauliflower mash.