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~ My Easy Teriyaki-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen ~

IMG_6419Teriyaki sticky-chicken wings and teriyaki steak or chicken chicken skewers have been two of my family's and tailgate-family's favorite game-day appetizers for decades.  Because of everyones love for the tantalizing flavor of  teriyaki sauce, I came up with a couple ways to put teriyaki flavor in my family's main-dish meal rotation too.  My recipes for teriyaki-style slow-cooker baby-back spare-ribs and easy teriyaki-glazed rock Cornish game hens pleased everyone -- the husband, the kids, and, more importantly me because both are so easy to make.

6a0120a8551282970b02af148657e5200c-320wiThe 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.

Quick, easy, (almost) mess-free & completely stress-free:

IMG_6423Two ingredients + an easy side-dish = One Asian-style feast.

IMG_63981-2 Cornish game hens, thawed and at room temperature

1/4-1/2  cup thick teriyaki sauce, your favorite store-bought brand (Note:  I highly recommend Panda Express's Mandarin Teriyaki Sauce.)

6a0120a8551282970b02af1487e9e2200c6a0120a8551282970b02af1487e9e2200c6a0120a8551282970b02af1487e9e2200c IMG_6405 IMG_6405~Step 1. Remove hen(s) (cook as many as you want) from packaging and place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.  Bend/twist/fold (whatever word you want to use) the wing tips down and underneath the hen -- this will prevent the  delicate wing tips burning.  Do not be inclined to season the hen(s) with salt and pepper as all brands of teriyaki sauce are quite salty and Panda Express's teriyaki is also thick and nicely seasoned -- it's perfect. Roast hen(s) on center rack of 375º oven for 45 minutes.

IMG_6411 IMG_6411 IMG_6411Step 2.  At the 45 minute mark, remove the hen(s) from the oven.  Working as quickly as possible, use a pastry brush to paint the entire surface of the hen(s) with teriyaki sauce.  Return to oven and continue to roast 5 more minutes.  Repeat the basting process every 5 minutes until an instant-read meat thermometer, inserted into the thickert breast meat, reads 150°-155°, about 15-20 more minutes.   Remove glazed hens 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.

Serve w/your favorite side(s) -- try my teriyaki ramen noodles:

IMG_6427My Easy Teriyaki-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen: Recipe yields instruction to roast and glaze as many Cornish game hens as you want to.

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

6a0120a8551282970b02af1c932d6c200dCook's Note: Whether 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. Be sure to read my post: ~ Elegantly Easy -- The Roasted Rock Cornish Game Hen ~.

"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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