roasted game hen with lemon thyme butter

roasted game hen with lemon thyme butter

If you can’t tell by now, I learned how to cook through trial and error.  I’ve been able to learn more than just how food tastes and what ingredient to blend with what spices through the years of reading recipes, watching television shows, and experimenting with family.  I’ve also learned about knife skills, cooking methods, and ingredient organizing.  One thing that I will always be grateful for learning, and what has helped me in my normal life [I look at cooking like my Superman life and my other job as Clark Kent…sh…but don’t tell anyone my true identity], is time management.  I learned it the hard way when I would convince my parents to make dinner for them.

I remember getting so excited about making dinner for the family.  I got my Dad to take me to the supermarket while I bought all the ingredients.  Sometimes I would ask my Dad to wait somewhere else so I could walk around the market on my own.  I pretended I was Kevin from Home Alone when he had to purchase food for the winter.  I digress; usually the ingredients would be bagged salad, bottled dressing, and can of soup [hey! I was 10].  But then there was the main dish and the side dishes that would change.  Dessert would be flan or pudding or Jell-O or something.  Even then I was attempting a 5 course dish.  I remember one of the first dishes I made was a salt-crusted game hen that I saw in our local paper.  It was delicious.  I remember it taking me a couple of tries to finally figure out the timing of the meal though.  I would heat and plate the soup long before the dinner started and then by the time the chicken was done the soup was cold and the salad had wilted under the heavy weight of the dressing.  Doh.  The 10 year old was flustered.

My parents would humor me though, they would try to drink the cold soup, and use their forks to scrape off the dressing from the limp leaves of iceberg lettuce.  Usually they did this because they where excited about the chicken.  It’s a simple dish that was crusted with coarse salt and stuffed with lemon and thyme.  I updated it in this version.  16 years provides a lot of attempts to change things around.  In addition to the lemon and thyme stuffing, I also separate the skin from the meat and slide in butter in between the layers.  As it cooks, the butter melts and helps flavor the game hen.  How delicious does that sound?  It smells great too.  I can smell the hen as I type this now.

I didn’t have enough coarse salt to do the crust, so I made do with some foil and a roasting rack.  Now, it’s nowhere near a substitute for a salt crust, but I wanted to get a new post out and also I can tell you about it in another posting.  This is a nice two-person meal; one chicken should be enough for two people.

And yes, my parents are to credit for my humility and continued effort to make sure I make dishes beyond the recipe and I owe them a lot for continuing to push me to make delicious food even when I fail the first time.


1 2 lb Cornish game hen, giblets removed

2 tbs butter, softened

1 tbs garlic, minced

½ tsp lemon zest

½ tbs + ¼ tsp salt

½ tbs + ¼ tsp black pepper, ground

1 small lemon

6 thyme sprigs

olive oil to drizzle


heat oven to 375˚

mix butter with garlic, lemon zest, and ¼ tsp salt and pepper

separate the skin of the hen from the back and breast and spread the butter throughout the pockets

rub the inside cavity and skin with the rest of the salt and pepper

pierce the lemon with a fork a few times and stuff the cavity with the lemon and sprigs of thyme

drizzle the hen with olive oil

place on a roasting rack in a pan [or over some vegetables]

roast for 1 hour or until juices run clear when pierced.

cut the hen in half with a sharp knife and serve with choice of sides [or canned soup, iceberg lettuce, and bottled dressing]

– serves 2-


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i hunger...i cook...i eat...i come back...i reminisce...i blog...enjoy.


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