One of my favorite special dinners as a child was Classic Cornish Hens with Almond Rice. I loved it and now days it is a nostalgic meal that I still make a few times a year.
Classic Cornish Hens are perfect for holiday parties! Basted with a zesty butter sauce and ready in under 1 hour. Your family will LOVE them!
The recipe for Classic Cornish Hens is actually very simple, but requires you to be near in the kitchen to baste every 15 or 20 minutes. I prefer to cut mine in half using kitchen shears to speed up the cooking process and make them easier to serve and eat.
They need a little tender love and care, but are certianly not complicated or hard to prepare. So give these mini chickens a shot!
Which leads me to the most popular questions… what is a cornish hen? A cornish game hen is actually a chicken, just a different breed than the typical chicken we buy and prepare.
They are generally young and weigh less than two pounds each. They taste like chicken and therefore nearly any chicken recipe can be used interchangeably with a cornish hen recipe and vice versa.
I serve my Classic Cornish Hens over Almond Rice with a little extra butter drizzled over the top. If there are any leftovers, shred the remaining hens and mix with the rice and frozen peas for a tasty lunch.
This was one of my favorite lunches when I was little. I’m honestly not sure if I looked forward to the actual dinner or the leftovers more. As an adult, I’d make the whole meal and then make this simple dish for lunch all week long. Now my husband also shares the same love for my cornish hens.
In case you need more elegant dinner ideas, check out these recipes!
- 4 Cornish hens
- 1 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Almond rice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using poultry shears, cut Cornish hens in half symmetrically. Season well with salt and pepper and place meat side up on two baking dishes or rimmed baking sheets. Place in oven.
- In a small sauce pan, melt butter with hot sauce and lemon juice.
- Continue to cook Cornish hens, basting with butter mixture every 10 minutes. Cook for 35-40 minutes, or until temperature in thigh reaches 165 degrees and juices run clear.
- Bring remaining butter to a low simmer while Cornish hens rest for 5 minutes.
- Plate over Almond Rice and drizzle with remaining butter.
If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!