Roasted Holiday Hens with Lemon and Herbs
This Thanksgiving, I decided against preparing a big bird and went with the always appropriate Cornish game hens, which I feel provide the same level of special-ness as a turkey, only in a smaller package. One of the first things I noticed about Cornish hens were how difficult they can be to find. After visiting several supermarkets, I was only able to find them in one store in the frozen meat section!
A side note - I spatchcocked my hens, which allows the birds to cook quickly and helps with time management if you're making more than a few. This step is completely optional, so if you don't find it necessary or don't have the proper tools (sharp knife or kitchen shears) to do it, just skip it.
6 Rock Cornish Hens
freshly ground pepper
4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons roughly green onions
1. The day before or at least 8 hours ahead of when you plan to roast your hens, you should make sure the hens are fully thawed (since they most likely will be brought frozen).
2. Spatchcock the birds by using a sharp knife or kitchen shears to remove the backbone. Once that piece is cut out, flatten the birds breast side up.
3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
4. Combine room temperature butter, lemon zest, ans rosemary.
5. Rub the seasoned butter under the skin of the chicken breasts.
6. Season the outside of the birds with salt and pepper.
7. Place the chicken on a sheet tray and roast for 30-45 minutes, checking to make sure the skin is nicely browned.
8. To check for doneness, place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. Done is 165 degrees.
9. Remove the chickens from the oven and let them rest for 10-15 minutes.
10. Serve on a platter with lemon slices and chives. Enjoy!