When entertaining, we will often serve game hens so that everyone can have their own hen. For this recipe, we served them whole, but when having guests over, we will usually cut the hens in half so that it is easier to eat and is a smaller portion. This recipe is really easy and the flavor of the hens was sensational. It would even be good as a holiday meal and works great for a special occasion. The vegetables soak up the flavor from the hens and the pancetta, making them decadently delicious. Rice Pilaf or stuffing would make a great accompaniment or you could add potatoes to the vegetables for a simple one pot dinner. We only cooked two hens since it was just the two of us, but we’ve provided the recipe for six people.
- 6 Cornish Game Hens (approximate 24 oz each)
- 1 Onion – roughly diced
- 6 Stocks of Celery – roughly diced
- 36 Baby Carrots (or 6 Large Carrots – roughly diced)
- 2 Large Red Peppers – roughly diced
- 3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 tsp Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped
- 3 tsp Fresh Sage – finely chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves – minced
- 1 tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- 2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 6 Thin Slices of Pancetta
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Combine the onion, celery, carrots, and red pepper in the bottom of a roasting pan or baking dish. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Set the hens on top of the vegetables and drizzle with olive oil. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, rosemary, sage, black pepper and salt. Rub the herb mixture over the hens until well coated. Lay a piece of pancetta over the breast of each hen and secure with wooden toothpicks. Roast the hens for 15 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to roast the hens until fully cooked, 45 to 60 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 minutes before serving.