Herb Roasted Cornish Hens with Root Vegetables might just be the perfect one pan, Thanksgiving dinner for two. Individual Cornish hens are crusted with fresh herbs, then roasted on a bed of root vegetables and apple for a delicious, pan roasted meal.

Herb roasted Cornish hens with root vegetables cooked in a cast iron skillet with fresh orange and root vegetables

 

Thanksgiving is a busy time for large family groups and lots of cooking. In the past, it has been just my husband and I for Thanksgiving and sometimes I don’t want to buy a giant turkey for 2 people. I also don’t need all the fuss of a big meal production, so I came across a solution.

 

A couple of years ago saw Cornish hens become popular and since they weigh about 2 pounds each they are perfect for individual servings. They’re also sold  in a pack of 2… how convenient! 

Pouring a glass of Pinot Noir to pair with the Cornish hens

 

Cast Iron Skillet

I love roasting meats in a cast iron skillet. In this instance, the vegetables cook in the pan with the hens so it’s a one pan meal and serving the meal right from the pan not only cuts back on dishes, but makes for a lovely presentation.

 

I use a lot of herbs this time of year and there’s nothing better than a herb crusted chicken or turkey. I also use a lot of fresh apple cider in my cooking and for this recipe I mixed it with melted butter and brushed it all over the skin for that extra flavor.

 

Herb roasted Cornish hens with root vegetables closeup showing the browned skin with fresh herbs

Side Dishes

For vegetable options, Slow Cooker Green Beans with Shallots & Almonds.

Green beans in an oval copper serving dish with beef tenderloin in the background

 

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Yield: 2

Herb Roasted Cornish Hens with Root Vegetables

Herb roasted Cornish hens with root vegetables might just be the perfect one pan, Thanksgiving dinner for 2. Individual Cornish hens are crusted with fresh herbs, then roasted on a bed of root vegetables and apple for a delicious, pan roasted meal.

Individual Cornish hens are crusted with fresh herbs, then roasted on a bed of root vegetables and apple for a delicious, pan roasted meal.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Cornish hens
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 1/2 orange, cut into wedges
  • 2 ounces carrots, peeled cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 ounces parsnip, peeled cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 pound yams, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 sweet apple, peeled and cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Dry the skin of the Cornish hens.
  3. Mix the melted butter and apple cider in a bowl.
  4. Stir in the rosemary, sage, thyme, salt & pepper to the melted butter and mix well.
  5. Brush the butter mix all over the hens, inside and out and under the skin, reserve some of the butter mix for the vegetables. Add a garlic clove and orange wedges to each of the hen cavities. 
  6. Tie the legs together.
  7. Add the carrots, parsnips, yams and apple to a bowl. Drizzle with the remaining melted butter and mix well so they are all coated.
  8. Spread an even layer of the vegetables in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or roasting dish.
  9. Set the hens on top of the vegetables and add and garlic around the hens and vegetables. Roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour and a meat thermometer measures 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the leg.

Nutrition Information

Yield

2

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 666Total Fat 48gSaturated Fat 28gCholesterol 200mgSodium 400mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 13gSugar 7gProtein 57g