Finding a suitable main course for my solitary Thanksgiving feast was difficult. I wanted something that didn’t leave tons of leftovers and didn’t cost a fortune but also seemed special, not something you would have at just any meal. I finally settled on Cornish game hens.
I think Cornish game hens are nice alternative to turkey. You get all the positives of turkey, the dramatic presentation of a whole bird, the choice between light and dark meat, and they taste good. You get none of the negatives, the dried out meat, the hefty price tag, the hours in the kitchen cooking the dang thing and more leftovers then you can ever eat. And let’s face it, anything in miniature is just darn cute.
The spice rub makes enough for two 1 1/2 pound Cornish game hens. If you only do one save the rest of the rub in a small jar or baggie and use it on chicken later.
Spice Rubbed Cornish Game Hen
1-2 Cornish hens (approximately 1 1/2 pound each)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
1 TBS spice rub
1 1/2 tsp canola oil
1 TBS paprika
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse each game hen under cold running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Stuff the cavity of each hen with 1/2 of the lemon wedges and half the cloves of garlic. In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients. Mix the oil and 1 tablespoon of the rub together into a paste. Rub each bird on the outside with the rub mixture. Arrange birds on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 45-60 minutes. Check for doneness with a digital thermometer by reading the temperature measured at the thickest part (usually right between the thigh and body of the bird.) Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Adapted from The Guilty Kitchen