Honey-Lemon-Thyme Cornish Game Hens

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 13 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 43 min
 
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Difficult

ingredients

  • 4 (1-pound each) Cornish game hens, spatchcocked*
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 5 lemons, 4 juiced, 1 thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish
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Directions

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Rinse the hens well under cool running water. Pat them dry with paper towels.

Melt the butter with the chopped fresh thyme in a small saucepan. In a small bowl, combine the juice of 4 lemons, honey, and soy sauce. Add the melted thyme butter and mix to combine. Reserve.

Heat a large cast iron pan on medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil.

Generously salt and pepper the hens and lay them skin-side down in the hot pan. Sear 4 minutes each side.

Pour 1/3 of the glaze on the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking dish. Transfer the hens, and their pan drippings, to the baking dish. Pour the remaining glaze over the hens and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until a thermometer reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove the dish from the oven and let them rest for about 5 minutes. Garnish with the sliced lemon and fresh thyme sprigs, and serve.

Cook's Note: to check the temperature, insert an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, avoiding any bones.

Notes

*Cook's Note: Spatchcocking: Place the game hen breast side down on a cutting board. Using scissors or poultry shears, cut from the neck to the tailbone to remove the backbone. Make a small slit in the cartilage at the base of the breastbone to reveal the keel bone. Grab the bird with both hands on the ribs and open up like a book, facing down towards the cutting board. Remove the keel bone. Cut small slits in the skin of the bird behind the legs and tuck the drumsticks into them in order to hold them in place.

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Newest Ratings and Reviews

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  • on July 22, 2013

    Flag

    Oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is one of the BEST recipes I have ever made and I cook all the
    time. It is not hard and absolutely delicious. There is the skillet to clean but the sauce is
    as good as anything you would get at a very expensive fine dining restaurant. My husband
    and I LOVE it. Spatchcocking is so easy on these little birds don't be afraid of it. Cute out
    the backbone, open the bird, with the heel of your hand break the breastbone, then flatten
    the bird and you are set to brown it. You can do this on a turkey too and it cooks much faster
    and doesn't dry out compared to baking it whole. Martha Stewart,com has great directions with
    pics for doing this. You could certainly make it ahead for company and just reheat it. Yummy
    yummy yummy thank you so much Emeril !!!!!!!!!!!! This is a 5 star recipe :

    people found this review Helpful.
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  • on November 23, 2011

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    I am a big fan of these little birds. Delicate flavor, smooth texture, no poultry or gamey lingering aftertaste. This recipe is simple and with the right (fresh ingredients you can really create a wonderful centerpiece for your dinner table. I tried this dish 2 ways: whole and split. Split allows you to really get a great sear on surface of the bird. Whole, yes you can still sear but it will require a little frying pan finesse. I tried the whole because I wanted to serve a "miniature turkey" looking dish and when baking I made sure to baste as I would a regular turkey, but in actuality it doesn't really take that long to bake in the oven. Try it under the "broil" setting for a nice char, baste often to maintain an even color tone. YUMMM, great tasting easy recipe. Can't really screw this one up.

    people found this review Helpful.
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