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Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Fennel and Orange/Rosemary Sauce

  • Total Time: 1 hour


  • 2 cornish game hens, thawed and patted dry
  • 10 baby tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2/3 stick butter, divided and softened
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves chopped
  • 1 orange, zested and segmented
  • salt
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, optional
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. In the bottom of a large roasting pan, scatter the potatoes, then top with the fennel wedges. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on the edges of the roasting pan.
  3. Sprinkle the vegetables liberally with salt, and scatter the chopped rosemary, garlic cloves, and orange zest over the vegetables.
  4. Divide the butter, reserving 2 tablespoons. With the remaining butter, about half a stick, smear all over the game hens, into any crevices and under the skin with your fingers. Sprinkle the hens liberally with salt, then place them breast side up over the veggies. Tuck the wings and legs under the hen bodies.
  5. Pour the wine and 1/2 cup of stock into the bottom of the pan. Roast the vegetables and hens for 20 minutes, uncovered. After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and check the liquids. Add 1 more cup of stock if the wine/stock mixture has evaporated.
  6. Cover the roasting pan, and roast for 20 – 30 more minutes until the veggies are tender and the hens are nearly cooked through – 155F internal temperature, if you’d like to use a meat thermometer. Remove the foil or roasting pan cover, and roast for 5 – 10 minutes more until the skin is crispy and the birds are cooked through. Remove from the oven, and allow to rest while you make the orange sauce.
  7. Drain 1/2 cup of the cooking liquids from the bottom of the roasting pan.
  8. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining butter until foamy. Add the flour, and whisk to form a light roux. Squeeze in any orange juice remaining in the membranes. Pour in the reserved pan juices, whisking to combine. Taste, and add a sprinkle of salt if you’d like. Let the sauce bubble and thicken for 1 minute, then add the orange segments, just to warm through.
  9. Serve each hen with some roasted veggies, orange sauce, and topped with fresh parsley and parmesan.
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45


  • Serving Size: 2