This wonderful rustic winter recipe for Cornish Hens made with fresh rosemary, sage and garlic and topped with bacon will be the hit of your holiday party!
Have you ever cooked a Cornish Hen before? Maybe they have intimidated you in the past, but I’m here to bust those hesitations out of the water. These little guys seem to make cooks start to really doubt their abilities in the kitchen. In reality, they are just little chickens. They aren’t wild game birds - just think mini chicken cousin. Maybe you’ve never cooked one. Maybe it’s the bones. Maybe it’s because it’s “whole”. I have no idea why people are less than confident, because I have to tell you— this is one of the easiest meals you could cook.
Not only is it easy— it gives the appearance of the opposite. If you are looking for a show stopping gourmet meal, you will be amazed at how easy you can create that with a Cornish Hen. This recipe features fresh pears, bacon, seasonal chestnuts, shallots, garlic, rosemary, sage, and of course, Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens. It takes about 15 minutes of prep time, and an hour to cook. While the cooked hens are resting, your sauce can be made in less than 10 minutes. This is the perfect dish for a Sunday dinner, a night with guests, or even a regular weeknight meal. If your having just 1 or 2 guests for Thanksgiving, this meal makes an excellent alternative to the standard turkey. With the holidays approaching, you’ll want to have this recipe in your repertoire.
Let’s get started!
These are the backbone of your recipe. The sage and rosemary will make your house smell incredible.
Have all your ingredients ready to go, and your Cornish hens thawed.
Rub the little hens with the butter herb mixture
After you have placed the bacon on top of the hens, place them in your dutch oven on top of the shallots and garlic.
Once cooked you’ll want to check with a thermometer just to double check!
Place on a serving dish and prepare your gravy!
Use leftover sage and rosemary to decorate the platter.
The bacon just adds the most wonderful touch and flavor!
It’s really a stunning presentation isn’t it?
But you and I know exactly how easy it is!
Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens with Pears, Bacon and Chestnuts
- Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens twin pack
- 1 (4-5 inch) Rosemary sprig
- 2 Sage leaves
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- Apple Cider (3/4 cup and 1 TBSP)
- 4 strips center cut Bacon
- 2-3 Shallots, quartered
- 5-6 cloves whole garlic
- 2 Red Pears
- 1/4 cup Chestnuts, can be omitted. These are seasonally available, so they can sometimes be hard to come by.
- 1 1/2 tsp Corn Starch
- Thaw your Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens according to directions. Find tips HERE. Since the double pack comes frozen, I thaw in my fridge 2 days before cooking.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Take the rosemary leaves off the stem, and chop finely. Chop the sage finely. Mix 1 TBSP of the apple cider with the herbs and fold into the softened butter. Smoother the 2 hens with this mixture. Be sure to gently lift the skin up to get underneath, and also butter the cavities.
- Lay 2 strips of bacon over the top of each hen in an X pattern.
- Place the garlic cloves and quartered shallots in a large roasting pan. I used my favorite dutch oven because I can use it on the stove top to make the gravy.
- Place the hens on top of the garlic and shallots and allow a little room in between the hens.
- Cook for 30 minutes, then add the pears and chestnuts.
- Cook for 30 more minutes, or until done (until juices run clear when thickest part of chicken is pierced and temperature on instant read thermometer reaches 180°F.).
- Remove the hens and place on a serving dish with the pears, onions and garlic. Cover with aluminum foil and let the hens rest while you prepare the sauce/gravy.
- Place the dutch oven on the stove top and break up all the bits left in the pan. Add the corn starch to it, and allow to cook stirring constantly with a whisk for 1 minute. Slowly add the apple cider into the mixture, as if you are making a gravy or roux. Season with salt and pepper. Continue whisking. Once thickened and cooked down, transfer to a serving bowl or gravy boat.
I purchased my Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens Twin Pack at Kroger. I am a big fan of Kroger. My sister has actually worked for them for over 10 years, so I feel like there is a strong family connection. The hens are in the frozen section. I found mine on an end cap of the open chest freezers. I’ve included a picture for you so you can see what the packaging looks like.
So how about you? Have you ever made Cornish Hens? I’d love to hear about it, or have you share your favorite recipe with me! While your at it, be sure to stop by Tyson’s page to see all the unique recipes out there!