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~ Elegantly Easy -- The Roasted Cornish Game Hen ~

IMG_6241Whether you are new to cooking and looking for something easy yet elegant to impress a small group of people with or a seasoned-pro looking for something easy yet elegant to impress a few quests with, you really should consider Cornish game hens.  There's more.  If you are a hungry single person in search of an easy, made-from-scratch entree, you really should consider a Cornish game hen. When I was a young chick (a new bride about 45 years ago), Cornish game hens were trendy and commonly served -- everyone, kids and adults alike, loves a succulent, personal-sized mini-chicken.  I served them frequently for years, and then, for reasons unknown to me, I kinda forgot about them.  No time like the present to correct my course.

Istockphoto-182222392-170667aThe Cornish game hen, also known as the Rock Cornish game hen, is the USDA's approved name for a particular variety of  broiler chicken. Connecticut farmers Jacques and Alphonsine Makowsky cross-bred the standard Cornish chicken with a White Plymouth Rock hen and a Malayan fighting cock in the 1950s. They were bred to mature quickly and develop a large breast and weigh no 2 pounds max uncooked (with the most common weight  about 1 1/4 pounds).

Istockphoto-606234472-612x612Despite the "game hen" in the name, the Cornish hen is not a game bird.  While the "hen" in the name implies a female bird, males and females are sold and served as Cornish hens, meaning, many aren't hens.  Once cooked, the Cornish hen is known for its tender meat which loves to absorb flavors from creative marinades or spice rubs.

The pianist and comedian, Victor Borge was an early investor and promoter of this single-serving bird, leveraging his popularity to transition the Cornish hen from an exotic item to a common household meal who's petite size and young age give it a unique flavor and succulent texture that bigger chickens simply do not have.  That said, it's as versatile as a regular-sized chicken, so, any recipe for any chicken is easily adapted to the mini-chicken (which will cook more quickly, in approximately 1 hour depending on the recipe ).  The small size also makes it easier to achieve a crispy skin with perfectly-cooked meat simultaneously with no real need for basting.

IMG_6200 3Quick-&-Easy to Roast, Elegant to Eat -- Elegantly Easy:

IMG_6200 IMG_6200 IMG_6200 IMG_6200~Step 1.  Remove game hen or hens (cook as many as you want).  Place hen or hens on a rack in a shallow roasting pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.  Generous season hen or hens with a freshly-ground sea salt and peppercorn blend.  Roast on center rack of preheated 400°-425° oven until an instant-read meat thermometer, inserted into the thickert breast meat, reads 150°-155°.   Remove from oven, loosely tent with foil and allow to rest about 5-10 minutes prior to serving -- residual heat will finish-cook the chicken and allow the juices to redistribute.

Plate & serve w/your favorite selection of sides:

IMG_6250Elegantly Easy -- The Roasted Cornish Game Hen:  Recipe yields instruction to roast as many Cornish game hens as you want to.

Special Equipment List:  appropriately-sized roasting pan; aluminum foil; roasting rack; intant-read meat thermometer

6a0120a8551282970b0278800f01c5200dCook's Note: I'm no different than a lot of you when it comes to weeknight dinners.  Sometimes I put a small chicken in the oven to roast, other times I fry a few pork chops, sometimes I roast or poach a turkey tenderloin -- easy to make, minimum-fuss fare.  Stuffing goes great with all of them.  That said, on a busy week day, many times, all I  have the time or inclination to make are two easy-peasy satellite side-dishes -- a bag of our favorite steam-in-bag vegetables, and, a box of "doctored up" Stovetop-type stuffing -- and there's no shame in either one.  That's why I keep Stovetop brand stuffing in my pantry at all times -- there are other brands, I like Stovetop. Click here on the blue link to get my recipe for ~ Doctoring Up a Box of Stovetop-Type Stuffing ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


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