From its crispy skin to tender meat, this succulent cornish hen recipe will roast perfectly every time.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 6


1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 shallots, finely chopped, divided

1 tablespoon (15 mL) Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons (10 mL) honey

2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped tarragon

1 teaspoon (5 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper, divided

3 Cornish hens

1/4 cup (60 mL) dry sherry

3/4 cup (175 mL) chicken stock

1/4 cup (60 mL) whipping cream (35%)

1 sprig tarragon, roughly chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Flavoured butter: Combine the butter, 1 shallot, mustard, honey, tarragon and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper.

3. Remove the giblet and neck from each hen, reserve for another use or discard. With kitchen shears, cut each hen in half lengthwise. Loosen the skin from hens and stuff each hen half evenly with the flavoured butter. Season the hens with remaining salt and pepper.

4. Place the hens skin side up in a large roasting pan. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced from the thickest part of thigh. Transfer to a platter. Tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, set the roasting pan over medium heat. Add the remaining shallot and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the sherry and chicken stock; scraping up any of the brown bits. Cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half. Add cream; continue to cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir tarragon into sauce. Serve the sauce with the hens.




Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.