Buttermilk-Brined Cornish Hens

Our first Thanksgiving at home was full of chill vibes and scrumptious food. Elijah and I dressed up for photos, cooked these cornish hens together, then had a movie night with some comfy blankets and a glass of whiskey (we love Irish scotch whiskeys, btw.) It was a night full of simply enjoying each other’s company, an experience that we hope you encounter through our Cooking & Chill recipe series. Make this for a special night, a holiday, or when you just want to have a quality meal with someone.

Cook time: 1.5 hours

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cornish hens
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cayenne red pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 small lemons or 1 large lemon
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Cooking & Chill (grab a partner and get cooking!):

Step 1:
Fork: Wash the cornish hens thoroughly with water. Place in a ziploc bag.
Spoon: Prepare the brine. Combine buttermilk, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and cumin. Squeeze 1/2 lemon and stir. Add to ziploc bag with the cornish hens.

Step 2:
F+S: Marinate the cornish hens for at least 6 hours. Marinate overnight if desired.

Step 3:
F: Preheat oven to 425 deg F. Remove the cornish hens from the marinade and pat dry.
S: Melt butter and baste it on the hens, making sure to get every nook and cranny.

Step 4:
F: Place 1/2 lemon and a handful of thyme in each cavity. Tie the legs with kitchen twine to secure the stuffing.
S:  Season the outside of the hens with salt and pepper.

Step 5:
F+S: Roast the hens for 45 min – 1 hour, or until the skin is browned and reaches an internal temp of 165 deg F. About 25 min into roasting, rotate your baking pan/container to ensure even browning.

Step 6:
F+S: Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 min then serve with fresh slices of lemon. Enjoy!


Classic Instructions:  
1. Wash the cornish hens thoroughly with water. Place in a ziploc bag.

2. Prepare the brine. Combine buttermilk, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and cumin. Squeeze 1/2 lemon and stir. Add to ziploc bag with the cornish hens.

3. Marinate the cornish hens for at least 6 hours. Marinate overnight if desired.

4. Preheat oven to 425 deg F. Remove the cornish hens from the marinade and pat dry.

5. Melt butter and baste it on the hens, making sure to get every nook and cranny.

6. Place 1/2 lemon and a handful of thyme in each cavity. Soak kitchen twine with water then tie the legs to secure the stuffing.

7. Season the outside of the hens with salt and pepper.

8. Roast the hens for 45 min – 1 hour, or until the skin is browned and reaches an internal temp of 165 deg F. About 25 min into roasting, rotate your baking pan/container to ensure even browning.

9. Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 min then serve with fresh slices of lemon. Enjoy!


Helpful tips:
-Everyone’s oven is different, so pay attention to where browning occurs on your hens. In general, stronger heat is located towards the back of the oven, so the side closest to the back will brown first. If one side is more brown than the other, rotate the pan to brown the other side.

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