How to cook cornish hens is one of those questions that always get my goat, but with good reason! They are one of the most delicious chickens you can buy, and there is simply no better way to cook them. When they first appear, they are only an inch long. After about a week of breeding they are done growing, and can be cooked at about two pounds each. The breasts are the best part for cooking, but you can roast the other parts as well. This is also one of the few breeds that is perfect for oven cooking.
How to cook the cornish hens is pretty simple, as long as you have all the necessary ingredients for success. First, pre-heat your oven to about 425 degrees. Put the hens in a large (12 X 13) casserole dish and their marinades in a big (was 9 X 13) casserole dish. Add water to the casserole and arrange the strips of onion around the hens.
You may want to add a bit of oil to the mix if you plan on roasting them for a bit longer than just an hour or two. Just remember not to put the garlic cloves directly into the pot of mixed vegetables. Instead, cover the lid of the pot with aluminum foil, and place the cornish hens inside for an hour or so. When this is done, remove the foil and add the softened butter, along with any other seasonings you wish to add.
After an hour or so, turn the oven off, and put the pan on the stove to roast the onions. If you are using a stovetop, try to keep the oven’s heat within one inch of the trusses. When the onions are almost completely cooked, remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool. Now it’s time to pull out the cornish hen trusses and re-use the bottom of one of them to form the bottom of the fourth main dish.
Using the same main dish and base your serving up on it. This will give you a nice clean, simple meal that will appeal to even the most picky guests. If you’re serving a light salad with mixed greens (chard, carrot, celery), then serve the base of the meal on top of that and then top with your choice of vegetables. If you’re going with more traditional mixed greens like yellow onions, radishes or beets, then top that with the base of your main dish.
You can easily adjust the temperature of this meal by adjusting the degree of cooking the vegetables in the base of your oven. The degree of cooking your vegetables depends on how much fat they have absorbed, how long they have been roasted, and if they are still hot when they reach the desired degree of doneness. Generally, for a four-course meal, you should bring it to a point where either all the ingredients are fully cooked or near to done. You can judge the done status of your meal through the varying colors of the veggies – greens turn purple when they are just about done, and orange when they have been roasted and tenderized a bit.