Turkey is the hands-down favorite for Thanksgiving but when you are cooking for just a few (or have a tiny oven as I do), Cornish Game Hens are a great alternative and also make a festive meal during the winter holidays. Who doesn’t like having their own drumstick? Grocery Outlet has a wonderful frozen food section and these little birds are inexpensive and thaw in a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. You’ll also find a good selection of fresh produce in bulk, packaged and organic varieties to chose from.
Toss root veggies in the pan for the last 30 minutes and serve with gravy and cranberry relish and rolls and you have a beautifully presented meal that you didn’t spent the entire day slaving over in the kitchen. And don’t forget the wine … Grocery Outlet has a huge selection so be bold and try something new!
- One game hen per person (kids or those with small appetites could share one)
(This recipe is for two people; increase ingredients below for more)
- 1/2 cube of butter, sliced into thin pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (flavored is good, too!)
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 14 cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup of dry white wine (and another cup or two for drinking as you cook!)
- 1/2 cup of chicken broth
- 1/2 lb of baby carrots
- 4 stalks of celery, cut into one inch chunks
- 1/2 lbs of little red potatoes, cut in half
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Allow the game hens to completely thaw and pat dry with paper towels.
- Gently use your fingers to loosen the skin on the top of the hens and slip the thin pats of butter between the breast meat and the skin.
- Put in each hen cavity: 2 whole cloves of garlic and a sprig of rosemary and thyme.
- Place hens on a shallow rack in a roasting pan, breast side up, with space between so the skins can get crispy.
- Brush each hen with olive oil.
- Finely dice the remaining rosemary and thyme and sprinkle over the hens.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over the herbs.
- Cover the wing tips with small pieces of tinfoil and loosely tent the pan.
- Place the hens in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, add the carrots, celery, potatoes and whole cloves of garlic.
- Remove the tinfoil from the tips and top. Mix the wine and chicken broth and pour slowly over the hens.
- Roast for 30 minutes, basting the hens and veggies with the pan juices every 8 minutes or so. The hens are done when an oven thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh his 165 degrees and the juices run clear.
- If you like the skin darker, turn the temp up to 450 and broil for a few more minutes, watching closely to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Carefully empty the juices from the cavity into the pan and move to a platter. Tent with tinfoil to keep warm.
- Pour the juices from the pan into a saucepan and bring to a boil for about five minutes or until the liquid is a sauce-like consistency. If you want it thicker, take a 1/2 cup of juices from the pan and mix in a small bowl with a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch until smooth, then slowly stir into the sauce and cook another 2 minutes on medium.
- Serve the hens whole or halved (cavity side down) with the veggies around and gravy drizzled on top with additional on the side.
Go To Tuesdays are weekly recipes from products purchased at the Alameda Grocery Outlet, 730 Buena Vista Ave.
Please let me know if you made the recipe and liked it or would suggest changes. And also feel free to suggest future recipes.