I am excited to share with you this recipe for Dutch Oven Cornish Hens and Potatoes, because not only is it both easy and delicious, but because it’s a great way to scale down for a holiday meal when it’s just the two of you.
And while Cornish Hens don’t sound that fabulous, I think we can agree that a one pot Dutch Oven Cornish Hens recipe sounds like an easy fuss free yet still a bit special type of recipe.
Planning a date night anytime soon? These little hens will make it look like you slaved ALL day long when in reality, you just need a good hour or so. When I told my husband I was thinking about cornish hens, here’s how our text message conversation went:
Me: I think I’m going to make cornish hens this week.
Him: Yes! I love those things!!!
Me: 3 exclamation marks? You’re that excited about cornish hens?
Him: We haven’t had them in forever. Make them. Do it. I love them!
So, friends, as any good wife in need of a poultry dish would do, I made him his cornish hens.
- 2 Cornish hens, small enough to fit into your desired Dutch Oven (mine were 4 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- pinch of salt
- 1 lemon, halved
- 2 sprigs, fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed or sliced into wedges
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Lightly pat the hens dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, combine the spices (cumin, coriander, paprika, thyme, pepper and salt). Season the cavities with half of the spice mixture and insert half of a lemon and 1 sprig of the rosemary. Tie the back legs together with twine to keep everything secure.
- Brush the hens with melted butter and season generously with the remaining spice mixture.
- Place in a Dutch oven (or cast iron skillet, roasting pan).
- Toss the sweet potatoes with the remaining butter and season with salt; surround the hens with the sweet potatoes. Add the remaining sprig of rosemary on top of the potatoes.
- Place the hens in the middle rack of the oven and roast, uncovered for 50 minutes- 1 hour, until the skin is bronzed and the temperature reaches 180 degrees on a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh.
These roasted hens are spicy but not too spicy, roasted and golden to perfection, making them happy little hens. They really give the appearance of you going out of your way preparing a nice meal. I roasted mine directly in my 7-quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven but you can use a roasting pan if you don’t have one.
Serve the hens alongside the sweet potatoes with a sprig of rosemary for garnish and you’re all set to impress. And it only took you 1 pot! They make a great romantic meal at home, but they would also work if you were having over the in-laws and wanting to show off your roasting skills, especially if the cast iron pot or dutch oven was a wedding gift!
Some other things you can make in your Dutch Oven is this Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Casserole, or this Game Day Gumbo. I like that the Dutch Oven is perfect for large meals on the stovetop but also oven friendly as well, perfect for making this Dutch Oven Smothered Chicken recipe.