roast hen

ISSUE #4: Roasted Game Hens

Roasted game hens are a fantastic alternative to traditional turkey or ham dinners on Thanksgiving Day, without being too complex. I recommend planning for about a half Cornish game hen per adult.

  • 1 1/2 lbs baby potatoes, halved
  • 1 lb carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 Cornish game hens, halved
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tb. olive oil, separated
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed
  • 1 Tb. chopped parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place a rack in the upper middle position.
  2. In a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, place the potatoes, carrots and onion. Toss with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon zest, fresh herbs and garlic together with a fork. Set aside.
  4. Pat the game hens dry with a paper towel. Rub the herb mix over the game hens, coating on all sides. Salt and pepper liberally and lay all four pieces on top of the veggies. Roast for 25 minutes. Briefly remove from the oven to baste. Then continue to roast for another 20 minutes, until the juices run clear when pricked with a fork. Allow the hens to rest for at least five minutes before serving.

PAIR: 2011 Browne Family Merlot

The savory flavors from the roasted game hen will be an excellent complement to the ripe berries present in the wine.

The 2011 Merlot lots were chosen from Elephant Mountain and Mirage Vineyards for their lush, dark fruit characters, and from specific blocks at Canyon Vineyard Ranch for added structure and earthiness. This, combined with patient oak-aging in French barrels (52% new for 24 months), gives us this dense and focused wine, which is full of rich berry notes.