Spatchcocked Roasted Cornish Game Hen

This is a very simple recipe as long as you have a sharp pair of kitchen shears. Spatchcocking is cutting out the backbone of the chicken and laying it flat. It cooks faster and is easier to grill, just don’t try to stuff it or you’ll have to tie it back up!

Preheat the oven to 375 degree. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray. For each hen, prepare a mixture of:

2 teaspoons pureed garlic*

1/8 teaspoon herbamare (or plain sea salt)

1/8 teaspoon dry sage**

dash of black pepper

Spatchcock each hen by cutting along the backbone on each side using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, cutting the bones attached to the backbone. Wash the inside of the bird and then dry thoroughly using paper towels. Discard the backbone. Release the skin from the meat by inserting your finger between the skin and the meat and shifting it to loosen. (I personally prefer to just cut along one side of the backbone to open the chicken (or hen) since I’m a lover of the tail, a bad taste inherited from my grandmother.)

Next, take 1/2 of the garlic mixture and rub it in one side of the hen between the skin and the meat. Repeat on the other side with the other half of the garlic mixture. Place in the prepared pan and repeat for the other hens you want to cook. Generally, one hen per person depending on their size and what else you’re serving with them. I actually only ate half a hen. Larger birds will feed more people but they generally average about 1 1/2 pounds per bird.

Rub the skin of the birds with oil and bake 45-55 minutes depending on how your oven temperature runs or until the thigh meat measures 175 degrees.

*I bought pureed garlic but it’s fairly simple to puree whole garlic cloves by using the flat side of a knife. Place the peeled garlic clove(s) on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Smash with the flat side of a large knife and then pull the knife towards you to smear the garlic and voila, pureed garlic. Or use a small food processor to puree cloves.

** I happen to love sage with poultry but if you don’t, feel free to use thyme, rosemary or whatever other herb your family prefers.

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