This is one of my favorite recipes to make when I’m feeling a little lazy and want something delicious and comforting. You can’t go wrong with a roasted bird and some potatoes, right? I typically stick with roasting cornish hens since I cook for myself and don’t want to waste any excess chicken, but you can definitely make this with a whole chicken and adjust the cooking time accordingly. I always like spatchcocking (or butterflying) my poultry for even cooking time and super extra crispy skin.
My favorite part of this dish? The potatoes! I learned this trick from my culinary externship days at a local Greek restaurant when I always had to prep and make the potatoes for service: SO much flavor packed into them and so simple to make and using my favorite Spice Tribe spices on this dish makes it sing. The flavors just pop! Everything steams while it roasts, so you get super flavorful and tender potatoes each time. Let’s get going!
Step 1 -
Preheat your oven to 375ºF.
Step 2 -
In a medium mixing bowl, season the cornish hen with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, a large pinch of kosher salt, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the smoked paprika. Rub all over and let the hen marinate and come to room temperature for even roasting. Set aside.
Step 3 -
Next, toss the potato wedges with a little bit of olive oil, the juice of the other lemon, a large pinch of kosher salt, black pepper, and the other teaspoon and a half of smoked paprika. Toss together to make sure the potatoes are well coated. Place them in a large cast iron skillet or roasting dish and fill with 1 cup of the chicken stock. Top the potatoes and stock with sprigs of fresh thyme (a small handful is fine).
Step 4 -
Then, place the hen on top of the bed of potatoes and sprinkle with a tiny bit more kosher salt so the skin can crisp and roast with the legs facing the back of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the bird and once the juices run clear in the thigh or internal temperature reaches 160ºF (carryover cooking will bring it up to the safe zone of 165ºF). The time will obviously vary based on the size of the hen or if you end up using an entire chicken so adjust accordingly!
Step 5 -
Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Serve the potatoes with a cornish hen half and then spoon the lemony-brothy sauce all over.
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