Roasted Cornish Hen with Grapes

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 Hen with Grapes

Roasted Cornish Hens with Grapes

adapted from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living

Dinner | Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 35 min | Total time: 45 min

Ingredients

  • 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

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (F).
  2. 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.
  3. Rinse the hens and pat dry, then tie the legs together with twine. (I just use thread from my sewing kit!)
  4. Nestle hens among the grapes on the baking sheet, breast side up. Season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
  5. 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.