Cornish Game Hens with Butternut Croutons

Generally, 1-pound hens are the perfect, succulent single-serving size. In this recipe, all six birds can be cooked on a baking sheet. Serve the dish family style (on a large platter), or plate hens individually. Either way, be sure to warm your serving dishes in advance. Prep: 30 minutes; Roast: 45 minutes; Stand: 5 minutes.
Makes 6 servings


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6 (1- to 1 1/2-pound) Cornish game hens, rinsed and patted dry
4 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, divided
2 clementines, unpeeled and quartered
6 leaves fresh sage
3 tablespoons butter, softened


1. Prepare Butternut Croutons, and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 450°. Season each hen cavity with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and insert 1 clementine quarter into each.

3. Pull back breast skin of each hen gently, and insert 1 sage leaf. Replace skin, and use a presoaked wooden pick to secure skin to meat. Tuck wing tips under each hen, and tie legs together using butcher's twine.

4. Arrange hens, tail to tail in 2 rows, on a rimmed baking sheet, making sure wing tips stay tucked. Rub hens with butter, and season with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

5. Roast hens at 450° on middle oven rack 45 to 50 minutes or until hens are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 160°. Transfer hens to a rack set over a platter, and cover loosely with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Allow hens to rest 5 minutes, and serve with warm Butternut Croutons.

Created date

November 2008