Roast Cornish Hens With Herbs

These small hens are big in flavour, especially when combined with the array of herbs in this recipe.

Number of servings : 8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Type of meal : | Main Courses | Main Courses

Special diet :


16 garlic cloves, peeled
16 lemon wedges
8 small Cornish hens (about 1 lb/ 500 g each)
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp/5 mL dried
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh sage, or 1 tsp/5 mL dried
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 tsp/5 mL dried
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp/5 mL dried
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) pepper
2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock
2 tbsp (25 mL) soy sauce
2 tbsp (25 mL) Worces­ter­shire sauce
2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) soft nonhy­dro­genated margarine


  1. Place 2 whole garlic cloves and 2 lemon wedges in each hen.
  2. In a small bowl, com­bine oil, minced garlic, rose­mary, sage, tar­ragon, thyme, salt and pepper. Gently sepa­rate the skin from the breasts and thighs of each hen. Rub meat un­der the skin with herb mix­ture. Rub extra over skin. Arrange birds on parch­ment-lined baking sheets.
  3. Roast birds in a pre­heated 400ûF (200ûC) oven for 45 minutes, or until well browned and cooked through. Baste occasion­ally. Place birds on a platter. Transfer drip­pings to a measuring cup.
  4. To make sauce, spoon off fat from drippings. Place juices in a sauce­pan with chicken stock, soy sauce and Wor­ces­ter­shire sauce, then bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, combine flour and margarine. Stir into sauce and cook until just slightly thickened. Adjust seasonings. Serve hens with sauce on the side.

Bonnie says: This meal looks sophisticated yet comforting. Cooking with the skin on keeps the bird juicy, but there’s less fat if you remove it. If you can find only larger Cornish hens, serve half a bird per person.

Photo by Benoît Levac; Food Stylist: Marie-Éve Charron; Prop Stylist: Irène Garavelli.


Nutritional information: