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Roasting Cornish Game Hens. To brine or not to brine?

Thanks all for the input! I made the Hens on Monday evening. I think I did very well for doing this for the second time. I cleaned the hens, sprinkled the insides with crushed black pepper and coarse sea salt. I rubbed and basted the outside with a mixture of olive oil, melted butter and a blend of spices (paprika, thyme, rosemary, garlic salt). I roasted them open on a rack over a pan for 25 minutes at 450F, then turned it down to 400F for the last 25 minutes. Most of the skin was quite crispy and detached itself from the bird, but the bottom was a bit wet (but still cooked). The meat was excellent. I made the mistake of not draining the juices out of the birds, so when they were served the plates had a 'lake' of juices! My father was quite pleased with it, though my mother was not very hungry and didn't like picking the chicken off of the bird. We've never really had a problem with 'pickin' chicken' off of larger birds. Next time I cook this, I will de-bone it or at least carve it. Just baked potatoes and green beans for sides, along with some crescent rolls.

The birds certainly did not need to brine. Thanks all again!

Oct 31, 2012
nwmnnaturalist in Home Cooking

Roasting Cornish Game Hens. To brine or not to brine?

I want to only use a very simple brine, comprised of sea salt and peppercorns. I'm thinking 3 hens in brine for about 2 hours. The hens have such a good natural flavor, and all I'm really trying to do is make sure the hens are plenty juicy.

Oct 27, 2012
nwmnnaturalist in Home Cooking

Roasting Cornish Game Hens. To brine or not to brine?

I'm planning a special meal for my folks and I've fallen in love with the flavor and ease of cooking of Cornish game hens. My mom's more used to bland chicken flavors, so she's not always that thrilled about the hens. My father loves them. Hopefully I can get mom warmed up to them more!

So I have a good rubbing spice ready, and plan to roast them in some brown paper bags (as tradition in our family). But I'm thinking about putting the hens in a brine to really get them juicy and ready to roast. Am I on the right track or is it completely unnecessary?

The spread is the game hens, some roasted new potatoes with green beans and asparagus in a rosemary cream sauce, some crescent rolls and for dessert, a sweet potato pie. I can be pretty lazy about cooking decent meals, but when I do cook something fresh I tend to really enjoy it. It's pretty hard to be enthusiastic since we don't have a lot of great ingredients where I live. Our growing season is pretty short, and the fresh and local scene is slowly getting under way. But I really try!

Oct 27, 2012
nwmnnaturalist in Home Cooking