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Sage and Lemon Cornish Game Hen

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“NOTE: Make at least 12 hours in advance. This only makes one hen (2 servings), but if you need more, you can double it, etc. We had this for Thanksgiving dinner. It was less expensive and less filling than turkey... and it didn't make us sleepy after dinner ;-)”
13hrs 5mins
1 hen

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. BRINE: Make the brine by combining water, salt, Worcestershire, white pepper and garlic powder in a very large bowl or stockpot big enough to hold your hen (or hens). Whisk the mixture until the salt is dissolved. Add the game hen, cover and refrigerate at least 12 or up to 24 hours. Turn the hen a few times to ensure it brines evenly.
  2. SAGE-GARLIC BUTTER: For the garlic butter (which can also be made a day in advance), combine butter, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, and sage in a small bowl. Stir thoroughly to blend. Refrigerate until ready to serve, but allow the butter to come to room temperature before using.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Drain the hen and discard the brine. Rinse hen under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place lemon half and 4 sage leaves in the cavity.
  5. Rub garlic butter mixture into the breast and drumstick meat under the skin. Rub the outside of the hen with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Truss the legs and tail.
  6. Set hen in a roasting pan breast up and roast for 35 minutes. Flip it over and roast another 15-20 minutes or until instant read thermometer registers 175 degrees F. Transfer hen to a platter cover with foil for 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Discard the lemon half and use heavy kitchen shears to halve the bird, cutting first down the center of the breastbone, then down either side of the backbone (you can discard the backbone). Set the hen halves on individual plates.
  8. Optional: Pour roasting juices into a pot, add juice from the lemon half and simmer 5 minutes. Spoon roasting juices over hen halves.

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