Cornish hens are tiny enough for everybody to have their own, easily served. Having guests? Perfect.
Honey Lemon Thyme Cornish Game Hens
(Makes 4 servings)
- 4 1-pound Cornish game hens
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Grated zest of 2 lemons
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 500° F. Line a large baking dish with aluminum foil, and set aside.
- Rinse hens well, inside and out, under cool running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Combine 4 tablespoons of butter, thyme, and lemon zest in small bowl. Use fork to blend well. Divide mixture into 4 portions, and spread one portion under skin covering the breast of each hen. Combine 1 teaspoon salt with ½ teaspoon black pepper, and season cavities of hens. Truss hens, fold wing tips back and tuck under, and arrange hens breast side up in prepared baking dish.
- Combine lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, and remaining 4 tablespoons butter in small saucepan, and warm over low heat until heated through. Divide honey mixture in half, and set aside one portion. Use some of remaining portion to baste tops of hens well. Season hens with remaining 3 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Transfer baking dish to oven and cook, basting hens with honey mixture about every 5 minutes. If necessary, tent hens with foil during last few minutes of cooking to prevent over-browning.
- When hens reach an internal temperature of 165° F*, remove dish from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Discard honey mixture used for basting. Use reserved honey mixture to drizzle over hens before serving.
*Note: To check temperature, insert instant-read thermometer in thickest part of breast, avoiding any bones.