Do you ever make roast chicken for dinner? A while ago a fellow food blogger I follow on twitter asked this question to her followers and said she was surprised to learn that many people had never roasted a chicken before. I also found this somewhat surprising but then I remembered that I used to be scared of making a whole chicken, too. After I roasted a chicken the first time, it became one my favorite dinners, but I can still understand why people would be apprehensive.
So for anyone still on the fence, I present to you: Cornish Hens. They’re basically miniature chickens and as such are even easier to handle and only take about 30 minutes to cook. Cornish Hens are a great stepping stone if you’re not quite ready to make the leap to a whole chicken yet. Plus…it’s pre-portioned! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know how much I love pre-portioned meals. If there’s one thing I dislike about roast chicken it’s having to carve/divide it up. With a Cornish hen you don’t need to bother with carving anything, you just dig right in like you would a chicken breast.
This recipe has also convinced me that roasting any vegetable or fruit makes it taste even better. I would have never thought to roast grapes before, but they taste so good, especially mixed in with shallots (one of new favorite things ever). Now I can’t stop roasting things: Asparagus, green beans, broccoli, tomatoes, and even grapefruit and pineapple (which reminds me, I really need to post that recipe). I remember a time in the not too distant past when the side dish I made with every dinner was either canned green beans or peas, now I can’t even remember the last time I bought a can of either.
This recipe is so simple it only takes about 5 minutes to throw together and half an hour later you get a very filling meal out of it. You can also substitute bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts if you don’t have Cornish hens.
Roasted Cornish Hens with Grapes
Dinner | Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 35 min | Total time: 45 min
- 1 1/2 lbs. red and green seedless grapes
- 8 shallots, root end intact, halved if large
- 6 sprigs of thyme, plus more leaves for hens
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 4 (1 – 1 1/4 lb.) Cornish game hens*
*Substitution: Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts – 10-12 oz. each
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees (F).
- Toss together grapes, shallots and thyme sprigs with olive oil, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Rinse the hens and pat dry, then tie the legs together with twine. (I just use thread from my sewing kit!)
- Nestle hens among the grapes on the baking sheet, breast side up. Season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
- Roast, basting the hens occasionally with pan juices, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg reads 160 degrees (F), about 30-35 minutes.