Lemon-Rosemary Cornish Game Hens

January 17, 2012
2 Ratings
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

In our harsh New England winters, the rosemary bush in our garden is the only thing that ever survives. Since it's the only green thing we see in months, we love to use it in a variety of recipes. The best thing about this particular dinner recipe is how easy it is to prepare. About five minutes of hands-on work and 45 minutes in the oven is all it takes to make this elegant-looking, herbacious, tasty meal. —ChrisandAmy

What You'll Need
  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Stuff each game hen with four lemon quarters and one sprig of rosemary and place them in a baking pan.
  3. Melt the butter in a small bowl. Finely chop the remaining rosemary and stir it into the melted butter along with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover each game hen all over with the butter mixture, then sprinkle each game hen with half of the herbs de Provence.
  5. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes, pour the white wine into the bottom of the roasting pan and swirl it around. Continue to cook the game hens for another 15 minutes, basting the hens with this wine 2-3 times during those 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • the professor
    the professor
  • lawprof
  • A_Cook2020
  • hungryme

5 Reviews

A_Cook2020 December 25, 2020
Unsafe recipe. 1) adding colder liquid to a pyrex was a bad idea (completely shattered, should've realized a bit) but ALSO adding cooler liquid to an actively cooking meat if it isn't cooked all the way through will stop meat cooking briefly and could make it unsafe. Flavors are lovely, but this recipe really needs to update for liquid to be there when it goes in the oven.
hungryme May 3, 2016
I loved this recipe! It was simple and extremely flavorful, I was a little worried about how much lemon it called for but it married beautifully with the rosemary, butter and wine. I will be making this again for sure!
Doris December 20, 2015
Recipe was perfect as it reads...no need to change the citrus or type of herbs. Combination of lemon and rosemary was perfect and the butter gave the hens a rich flavor. Am making again for the second time in one month.
the P. February 24, 2012
Just confirming this recipe is fantastic. Simple to prepare, but the results are elegant enough for entertaining (or for eating in front of the TV on a Friday night, as I just did, with a simple green salad). The herbes de provence are really key. Bravo!
lawprof February 10, 2013
Wonderful recipe. I varied it a bit the second time and loved the improvement. In place of half the lemon I added a whole clementine, Italian parsley and ground sage to the cavity. I also added to the roasting pan (for two hens) two large carrots, two shallots and two small tomatoes, all finely chopped. After removing the hens from the oven, I set them aside, added more white wine to the pan, simmered the veggies, deglazed the pan, then pressed the mixture through a sieve to produce a rich sauce. To die for.