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Cornish hens: Create a finger-lickin', bone-pickin' good time

February 22, 2000

The Associated Press

Rock Cornish hens are an elegant main course for guests, but they're so easy to prepare and serve they can be good family fare, too.

cont. from lifestyle

Perdue Farms Inc. recommends Cornish Hens with Roasted Ratatouille, which is a good winter dish since the vegetables should be readily available. Even fresh oregano is among seasonal herbs found year-round in many grocers' produce sections. It is shipped from warmer climates and sold in little resealable packets.

Now, for the main ingredient: Rock Cornish hens. "The Joy of Cooking," which deserves a place in every kitchen, recommends 1 pound of poultry per person.

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"Rock Cornish hens used to run about 1 1/4 pounds, a perfect size for an individual serving," according to the cookbook, "but for economic reasons, producers are now bringing them to market in the 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound range."

If you can't find small Rock Cornish hens for individual servings, the book recommends poussins, also called squab broilers, which are very young chickens that weigh about 1 pound each.

A large Rock Cornish hen of about 1 3/4 pounds, either roasted whole or split and broiled, will make two modest servings.

Cornish hensCornish Hens with Roasted Ratatouille

  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes seasoned with green pepper and onion
  • 1/2 cup prepared olive oil vinaigrette or Italian dressing
  • fresh oregano
  • 2 Rock Cornish hens


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add dressing and gently stir to coat. Set aside.

Remove giblets from hens. Gently loosen skin on breast and thighs of each hen and tuck sprigs of oregano under it. Place hens in roasting pan and tumble vegetables around them. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until meat thermometer inserted in breast reaches 170 degrees.

Serves 2 to 4.

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