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Crispy Cornish Hens

Crispy Cornish Hens

Cornish Hens are one of my favorite meals for entertaining.  They are easy to prepare, visually appealing and delicious.  They brine well but don’t really need it if they are cooked properly (in my opinion).

Chicken is very versatile flavor-wise.  I am using The MiddleEastern here but you could easily substitute with several of the UMAMI blends.  Some of my favorites are The Herbed Turkey, The Everything Spice, The Stardust and UMAMI Jerk.


I usually allow a half hen per person, depending on the size.

2 Cornish Hens (approx. 1 - 2lbs)

Olive oil

1 Tbsp The MiddleEastern (more or less to taste)


Preheat oven to 400°.

Pat hen dry.  Rub outside of hen with olive oil.  Sprinkle with UMAMI spice blend of your choice on the inside and out.  Cook on a wire rack (in a foil lined cooking sheet).  Test with a meat thermometer after 45 minutes.  Breasts should register 160° and thighs 175°.  They should not take more than an hour.  Stuffed hens will take longer.

After 45 mins, if hens are not browning, increase heat to 450°.  If hens are browning too quickly, cover lightly with foil.

Transfer hens to a cutting board and rest for 10 minutes.  Drizzle with pan juices.


Serve with our Gourmet(esque) Weeknight Potatoes.


To take it up a notch:

               Mix 1tsp of UMAMI spice blend with 1tbsp of softened butter.  Use your fingers to lift the skin on the thighs and breast.  Try not to tear skin.  Rub half of the mixture under the skin.  Rub the mixture on the outside as well.


               Cook on a covered outdoor grill over indirect heat, or over direct heat on soaked wooden planks.


To save time:

               Cut the backbone out of the hen (with kitchen shears) and press flat.  Season.  Test hens after 25-30mins.

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