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With fall weather in full swing and Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, we’ve put together a delicious main that will hit all the right notes and offer an impressive presentation. This Maple and Herb-Roasted Cornish Hen recipe is the perfect alternative to a traditional turkey feast.

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While we love getting the whole family together for a big Thanksgiving dinner, we know that this isn’t always an option for everyone – some of us have smaller families and might only be cooking for 1-2 people. Some of us just don’t want to deal with all the prep required for a large holiday dinner, while others simply don’t enjoy turkey. These Cornish hens are easy to cook, stunning to serve and can be pulled together in just over an hour.

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This dish is all about using seasonal ingredients in a way that elevates their flavour to produce something that is simple yet elegant. The combination of herbs, maple and root veg work beautifully together and help to really showcase these lovely little birds. If you haven’t cooked Cornish hens before, this recipe will serve as a great introduction.

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Adding the compound butter underneath the skin keeps the breast meat juicy and ensures that the delicious herb flavours penetrate the entire hen. Basting the birds with the maple-herb butter will help the skin to crisp up for a gorgeous, golden-brown finish.

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And maybe the best part; cooking everything in one pan means less mess and almost zero cleanup. The flavours all meld together in the skillet, infusing the vegetables with the cooking juices from the hens. This dish is hearty, packed with taste and everyone gets their own little bird to pick at. These maple and herb-roasted Cornish hens are really easy to pull together and will look great on your table.

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Maple and Herb-Roasted Cornish Hens
maple and herb roasted cornish hens, cornish hen recipe, maple cornish hen recipe, cook cornish hens in cast iron skillet, how to cook cornish hens, delicious cornish hen recipe, one pan cornish hen recipe, easy one pan recipe, thanksgiving recipe for 2, small thanksgiving dinner recipe, turkey alternative thanksgiving, smaller thanksgiving dinner, best way to cook cornish hens, hen recipe, cornish hen meal
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 - 55 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 - 55 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
maple and herb roasted cornish hens, cornish hen recipe, maple cornish hen recipe, cook cornish hens in cast iron skillet, how to cook cornish hens, delicious cornish hen recipe, one pan cornish hen recipe, easy one pan recipe, thanksgiving recipe for 2, small thanksgiving dinner recipe, turkey alternative thanksgiving, smaller thanksgiving dinner, best way to cook cornish hens, hen recipe, cornish hen meal
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and place cast iron skillet inside to heat.
  2. Rinse and pat dry cornish hens. Salt the hens 15 minutes before cooking to draw moisture out. Pat dry again.
  3. Combine finely chopped herbs (use 1 tsp of rosemary) and butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Carefully slide your fingers under the skin of each breast (from the butt-end of the bird) to create 2 'pockets' between the skin and meat. Rub 2/3 of the herbed butter into these pockets. Season the hens generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Melt remaining compound butter and combine with maple syrup to create the basting liquid.
  6. Toss potatoes in oil and remaining rosemary.
  7. Carefully remove hot skillet from oven and oil the bottom. Place Cornish hens in skillet, breast-side up, and add potatoes, onions and garlic around them.
  8. Brush melted compound butter onto hens and place skillet back in oven. Be sure to brush the entire bird.
  9. Halfway through cooking time, add carrots to pan with potatoes and onion. Baste hens with the remaining maple-butter mixture.
  10. Continue to cook cornish hens until a thermometer placed in the meatiest part of the thigh reads a temperature of 165 degrees F; 45 - 55 minutes. Remove from the skillet, loosely cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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