Weeknights can get pretty hectic around here and by the time dinner rolls around; we are often just plain exhausted. Sometimes it‘s tempting to pick up the phone and order carry out, but who (besides our 5 year old) wants to eat pizza every.single.day? Having a few easy recipes to fall back on helps us get through those nights when all we really want to do is put on fuzzy slippers and watch re-runs of Shameless.
Cornish hens are the perfect choice for weeknight meals. They are big enough to feed a family, but small enough to cook in an hour. When paired with a simple salad, you’ve got a delicious homemade meal on the table in no time. This Cornish hen recipe features Old Bay, a spice that is basically a way of life here in Maryland. There is something magical about Old Bay. One taste, one smell, and you’re instantly transported to the lazy hazy days of summer. (Ahhhh, summer… anyone else ready to trade in their snow boots for flip flops?) Warmer days are on the horizon, but until then, this meal will keep you nourished and offers a glimpse of the sunny months ahead.
We paired this Chesapeake inspired Cornish hen with a simple salad of arugula, cannellini beans, red onion, and shaved parmesan. A light and bright lemon vinaigrette tied the flavors all together. Of course, no meal is complete without something to drink! The sweet, fruity notes of Angel Food by Cupcake Vineyards perfectly complemented the zesty and bold spice of the Old Bay seasoning.
Roasted Chesapeake Cornish Hen
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp white pepper
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Cornish hen, approximately 1.5 lbs*
1 small yellow onion
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Several sprigs of fresh Thyme
Preheat oven to 375°.
Rinse and dry the hen, discard insides. Chop the onion and one of the lemons into quarters, place pieces inside of the hen. Season the inside of the hen with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Truss the hen with butchers twine. Make an incision in the skin above the legs and gently separate the skin from the meat to create a small pocket.
Combine the softened butter with the Old Bay, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, and white pepper. Rub 2/3 of the butter mixture in the pocket created under the skin. Rub the remaining 1/3 of the butter mixture on the outside of the skin.
Slice the remaining lemon, placing several slices on a foil lined baking sheet. Place the hen on top of the lemons on the baking sheet. Place the remaining lemon slices and the sprigs of fresh thyme on top of the hen.
Roast in the oven for about an hour, or until the thickest part of the thigh reads 165° on an instant read thermometer.
*Note: If you are feeding 3 or more people you may want to buy a slightly larger Cornish hen, or even cook two if your family is large (or if you’re extra hungry!)