Roast Cornish Game Hens with Creamy Herb Sauce

Something special for Valentine's Day?

Individual Cornish Game Hens are perfect.

I was introduced to these little cuties and discovered my love of cooking when I was at university.

Being poor college students a friend and I arranged to clean house for two guys every Sunday in exchange for dinner and drinks. 

We also had to do the cooking.

Did I mention we were poor college students?  And desperate for a good meal?

One of the guy's mother worked in a supermarket (she could have owned it for all we cared at the time) and used to pick-up the 'seconds' to give to her 'boy'.  He had a freezer full of (among other things) Cornish Games Hens, albeit damaged ones…. Missing a wing or a leg.  

Every Sunday we would spend about an hour cleaning their apartment and 3 hours fixing the fanciest dinner we could come up with using whatever foods Mom had sent down that week.

The also supplied the beer and wine.

It was our favorite day.

This recipe is for 4 but can easily serve two – cut in half or not ;-) )


Cornish Game Hens with Herb Sauce
Small, perfectly roasted hens make an elegant presentation for individual servings but can be carved like a larger bird to serve 4. Remember to put bowls for bones on the table – and wet towels for fingers.

2 Cornish Game Hens, poissin or little, individual chickens or 1 small whole chicken       575gr, 20.3oz each
2 tbs soft butter           28.4gr, 1oz
1 1/2 tbs dried tarragon
1 1/2 tbs dried summer savory
1 1/2 tbs dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil           27gr, .95oz

Wash hens and pat dry with paper towels. Mix 1 tbs butter with 1 tbs each of tarragon, thyme and savory. Divide herb mixture and put half into each of the hens. Tie legs close and bend wings around and under the back – so it looks like they are lying there with their arms akimbo. It keeps them from flapping and gives the hen something to rest on. Lay them on a rack in a shallow baking pan. Rub the remaining 1 tbs butter over the hens and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tbs of each herb and the salt over the top. Put into 400F (200C) oven and bake for 30 minutes. Pour 1 tbs oil over each hen and bake 20 – 30 minutes longer or until done. See techniques. I recommend the thermometer… Remove and serve with:


Herb Sauce  Use fresh herbs if you have them

1 tbs butter         14.2gr, .5oz
1 shallot              22gr, .78oz
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried savory
1 tbs flour             10gr, .35oz
1/2 cup dry white wine           120gr, 4.2oz
1/4 cup chicken stock            56gr, 2oz
1/3 cup Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, or sour cream           100gr, 3.5oz yogurt

Finely chop shallot. In medium saucepan sauté shallot and herbs in butter until shallot is tender. Add flour and stir constantly for 1 minute with a whisk. Slowly add wine stirring constantly to thicken. Add stock and heat, stirring, to boiling. Add yogurt and serve.

To serve: Present birds on a small platter for approval; then carve and serve, sauce on the side.

Note: Serves 4


Cornish Hens / per serving
Calories:    2742 / 685.5
Total Carbohydrates:  
  0 / 0
   Dietary Fiber:    0 / 0
Total Fat:
   212 / 53
Saturated Fat:   63 / 15.5
    1224 / 306
    198 / 49.5
  132 / 33
866 / 216.5

Glycemic Index:  low

I try to be accurate, but I do not guarantee it.  I use 'grams' as
the unit of weight; with an approximate conversion to ounces.


Herb Sauce / per serving
Calories:    370 / 92.5
Total Carbohydrates:  
  20 / 5
   Dietary Fiber:    1 / .25
Total Fat:
   21 / 5.25
Saturated Fat:   14 / 3.5
    52 / 12.5
    6 / 1.5
  175 / 43.5
172 / 43

Glycemic Index:  low

I try to be accurate, but I do not guarantee it.  I use 'grams' as
the unit of weight; with an approximate conversion to ounces.


For more recipes check out my internet cook book:  Easy Gourmet Dinners

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