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Roast Cornish Hens with Maple Butter Skillet Cornbread| WednesdayNightCafe.com

Roast Cornish Hens with Maple Butter Skillet Cornbread

Make a quick skillet cornbread with maple butter while herb-rubbed Cornish hens roast.
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4
Author Tara Leung


Cornish Hens

  • 2 (2 - 2 1/2 pound) Cornish game hens
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs each of thyme, sage, and marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped sage leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped marjoram leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Skillet Cornbread

  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar (white, apple cider, or rice all work)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons maple sugar (or use 1/4 cup regular sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Maple Butter

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup


Cornsh Hens

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove giblets from hens and set aside for another use or discard. (I put the ones I like in the roasting pan with the hens.) Pat hens dry with paper towels. Place hens in a baking dish, breast side up.
  3. Stuff the cavity of each hen with ½ of a lemon, 2 garlic cloves, and 1 sprig of each herb. Tie the legs together with cooking twine.
  4. In a small bowl, mix oil, thyme leaves and chopped herbs, kosher salt, and pepper. Rub all over the hens.
  5. Transfer to oven and roast for 50 minutes - 1 hour. (While the hens are baking, make the cornbread.) Rotate the baking dish at the halfway point. To check if the hens are done: Check the temperature in the inside part of the thigh, between the leg and the breast, for an internal temperate of 165 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, poke the meat in this spot with a knife to check juices run clear. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

Skillet Cornbread

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (if not already on from making the Cornish Hens.)
  2. Mix milk and vinegar in a measuring cup. Let stand for a few minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.
  3. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Then let sit out to cool slightly.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, maple sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the milk and vinegar mixture and the eggs.
  6. Wait until you have 30 minutes left on the Cornish hens’ bake time to continue, if you’d like both to be done around the same time. (Otherwise go ahead, the cornbread will be a good snack while you’re waiting for the hens to finish cooking.)
  7. Add the 4 tablespoons melted butter to the mixing bowl with the wet ingredients and stir to mix. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until combined. Do not overmix. It’s okay if there are still some streaks of flour or cornmeal.
  8. Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet, and turn so butter coats the entire bottom of the skillet. Carefully pour batter into the skillet. Turn off stove and transfer skillet to oven. Bake 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. While cornbread is baking, make the maple butter.

Maple Butter

  1. Add butter and maple syrup to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn heat to medium-low and boil until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir very well. Pour out into a bowl and transfer to the fridge to firm up before serving.