Honey Lemon-Thyme Cornish Game Hens
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Credit: From Emeril 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast, (Harper Studio, 2009), by Emeril Lagasse
The National Culinary Review, January 2010
4 (1 lb.) Cornish game hens
8 T. cold butter, divided
1 T. + 1 t. chopped fresh thyme
Zest of 2 lemons
4 t. salt, divided
1 t. freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 T. lemon juice
¹/3 cup honey
1 T. + 1 t. soy sauce
1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 500ºF. Line large baking dish with aluminum foil.
2. Rinse hens well, inside and out, under cool running water. Pat dry with paper towel.
3. In small bowl, combine 4 T. butter with thyme and lemon zest; with fork, blend well. Divide mixture into 4 portions; spread 1 portion under skin covering breast of each hen. Combine 1 t. salt with ½ t. black pepper; season cavities of hens. Truss hens; fold wing tips back and tuck under. Arrange hens, breast-side up, in foil-lined baking dish.
4. In small saucepan, combine lemon juice, honey, soy sauce and remaining butter; warm over low heat until heated through. Divide honey mixture in half; set aside 1 portion. Use some of remaining portion to baste tops of hens well. Season hens with remaining salt and pepper.
5. Transfer baking dish to oven; cook, basting hens with honey mixture about every 5 minutes, until nicely browned. If necessary, tent hens with foil during last few minutes of cooking to prevent over-browning.
6. When hens reach internal temperature of 165ºF, remove from oven. Rest about 5 minutes before serving. Discard honey mixture used for basting. Use reserved honey mixture to drizzle over hens before serving.
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