I love this dish because it has a lot of wow factor for a dinner party, however, it is a bit of a cooking misnomer, as Cornish Game, or Rock Cornish Game Hen is neither a wild game bird, nor necessarily a hen since it could be of either sex. They are, in fact a domestic chicken hybrid cross between Cornish Game cock and White Plymouth Rock hen that was developed in the 1950’s by a farming couple in Connecticut.
The breed grows quickly and develops into a succulent single serving bird in 4-6 weeks defined by the United States Department of Agriculture as a young immature chicken weighing less two pounds, in ready to cook weight, descended from a Cornish chicken. Now that we have covered the trivia, lets discuss the recipe.
4 Cornish Hens (or more)
Lemon (1/4 per hen)
Garlic (1 clove per hen, plus 2 for the wild rice)
Fresh Rosemary, Sage and Lavender (optional)
Wild Rice, your choice of a blend or even out of the box based on servings required
1 pound Sage Sausage
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees, prepare the hens, rinse, remove giblets, pat dry, rub in butter or EVOO season with salt and pepper. Stuff each hen with 1/4 lemon, a sprig of rosemary, a sprig of lavender, four sage leaves a clove of garlic.
Cook breast down, in roasting pan with a wire rack to keep the hens up and out of any drippings (this allows the skin to crisp). I start the hens breast down to keep the breast more moist, after back starts to brown 30-45 min turn hens over with breast up and cook another 30-45 min or till breast skin browns and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. If the hens don’t brown enough in 45 min, raise the oven temperature to 425 watching carefully till they reach the desired color.
In the meantime cook the wild rice according to instructions replacing the water with chicken broth. In another pan, brown sage sausage, onion, garlic. When the rice is done mix rice with the browned sausage.
Remove the hens from the roasting pan when done and use the pan drippings to create a sauce. Add 1 tbs cornstarch to 1/2 cup white wine, whisk into drippings cook for 5 min while hens rest. It will have a nice herb and lemon flavor.
Present the hens on a bed of the rice, spoon sauce over top add the veggie side and impress.
Till next month,