Lemon Herb Spatchcock Cornish Hen

This lemon herb spatchcock Cornish hen is the perfect way to evenly cook Cornish hens. Simply cut, lay flat and rub with lemon herb butter. Hello dinner!

This lemon herb spatchcock Cornish hen is the perfect way to evenly cook Cornish hens. Simply cut, lay flat and rub with lemon herb butter. Hello dinner!

Last weekend my best friend drove from Ohio for a little long weekend bonding time. If you know anything about my BFF and I that basically means we went shopping, got pedicures and ate our weight in seafood. Seriously, we cannot have a weekend together without seafood.

In case you’re curious we had fresh oysters, mussels, scallops, shrimp and lobster. Basically we ate the ocean. If this were an episode of Seinfeld the ocean would be calling us out.

This lemon herb spatchcock Cornish hen is the perfect way to evenly cook Cornish hens. Simply cut, lay flat and rub with lemon herb butter. Hello dinner!

The one thing we didn’t eat this weekend were these delicious little hens. I made them a week before my BFF arrived and devoured them with Art. Well, to be clear I devoured one of them immediately {after taking a few pictures, obvi} and then reheated the other one at dinner time for Art.

My poor husband. Always eating leftovers. But luckily for him these leftovers were flavored with an out of this world lemon, rosemary, sage and thyme butter.

This lemon herb spatchcock Cornish hen is the perfect way to evenly cook Cornish hens. Simply cut, lay flat and rub with lemon herb butter. Hello dinner!

When I decided to make a spatchcocked chicken I laughed a little in my head. I’m sorry, the word spatchcocked is pretty much the best word in the culinary dictionary. I have the mind of a 15 year old boy and I won’t apologize.

Plus it’s a good reason to use my kitchen shears for more than cutting pizza.

True life.

{Not sure what spatchcock means? It’s a funny word that means you simply cut the backbone out of the bird and then laid it flat. You can do this with chicken and even turkey. It helps so that your bird cooks evenly and is great for grilling too.}

This lemon herb spatchcock Cornish hen is the perfect way to evenly cook Cornish hens. Simply cut, lay flat and rub with lemon herb butter. Hello dinner!

If you’re not sure how to spatchcock a Cornish hen (written out directions are in the post) and are a visual learner watch this video from Martha Stewart. No need to skewer the bird since we are not grilling but the first 1 minutes and 30 seconds is helpful.

If spatchcocking isn’t your thing you should give these Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Cornish Hens a try.

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Lemon Herb Spatchcock Cornish Hen

This lemon herb spatchcock Cornish hen is the perfect way to evenly cook Cornish hens. Simply cut, lay flat and rub with lemon herb butter. Hello dinner!

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 80 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 (2-1/2 pound) Cornish hens, giblets removed
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the giblets from the Cornish hens and place them on a cutting board, breast side down.

Using sharp kitchen shears cut down each side of the backbone, starting from the neck end down to the tail. Remove the backbone, pull open the hen, flip it over and lay it flat.

Optional: Near the bottom of the breast near the legs there should be some loose skin. Cut a small slit on each slice of fat and put your legs through the hole. This helps hold the legs in place but it completely optional.

Season the front and underside of the bird with kosher salt and pepper.

In a small bowl mix together butter, garlic, lemon zest, rosemary, sage and thyme.

Using your finger loosen the skin from the breast and stuff the lemon herb butter under the skin directly on top of the breast. Stuff each chicken with equal parts butter - leave at least 1 tablespoon of the butter in the bowl.

Use the remaining tablespoon of butter to rub over the top of each hen.

Place your birds onto a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven.

Cook until the skin is golden brown and the when tested in the thigh it reaches 160 degrees. You will know the hen is fully cooked when you wiggle the wing or leg and it easily jiggles.

Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes (I usually let mine rest 10 minutes) and devour.

Note: My Cornish hens were a little large so the cooking time took on the longer side. If your hens are smaller than 2.5 pounds make sure to adjust the cooking time and always test for doneness with at thermometer.

26 Responses to “Lemon Herb Spatchcock Cornish Hen”

  1. #
    1
    Beth — January 21, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Brandy, you are like super blogger! You always make amazing things.. I don’t think I would ever spatchcock a hen.. plus, I don’t even know what it is!

  2. #
    2
    kellie @ The Suburban Soapbox — January 21, 2015 at 8:34 am

    I love spatchcocking (is that a word?) chicken….or I just like to say the word spatchcock. Either way, this looks deliciously stunning!

  3. #
    3
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — January 21, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I have never cooked a cornish hen….but now I want too!!!

  4. #
    4
    Heather | girlichef — January 21, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Everybody’s leftover should be so delicious ;). These sound so incredibly tasty, plus – SPATCHCOCK!

  5. #
    5
    Becca from ItsYummi.com — January 21, 2015 at 9:42 am

    I absolutely positively need this hen in my life as quickly as possible! LOVE!

  6. #
    6
    The Food Hunter — January 21, 2015 at 10:09 am

    I’ve got to try this…what a great recipe

  7. #
    7
    Stephanie @ Back for Seconds — January 21, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Ugh, I am so HUNGRY now! Looks perfect!

  8. #
    8
    heather @french press — January 21, 2015 at 10:57 am

    I have never tried to spatchcock, but you make it look simply gorgeous

  9. #
    9
    Danae @ Recipe Runner — January 21, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Well now that I know how to spatchcock (I laughed in my head like a teenage boy too) I definitely want to give it a try! I love cornish hens and the lemon herb flavoring sounds perfect!

  10. #
    10
    Martha @ A Family Feast — January 21, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    LOL -I love the word spatchcock too! We make our chickens (and even Thanksgiving turkey) spatchcocked (hehehe) – definitely the best way to get moist, evenly cooked poultry!

  11. #
    11
    Susan@LunaCafe — January 21, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Marvelous! I love chicken and game hens cooked this way. Really crisps the skin overall. And your photos are drool-worthy. 🙂

  12. #
    12
    Melanie | Melanie Makes — January 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Spatchcock, spatchcock, spatchcock! 😉

    This looks absolutely amazing – I’m so inviting myself over for dinner.

  13. #
    13
    Julie @ Willow Bird Baking — January 21, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    This turned out SO gorgeous!!

  14. #
    14
    Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats — January 21, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    ugh… i want to eat the ocean .. jealous! Also craving cornish hen now too! Just pass me that leg and I’ll be good! Beautiful shots Brandi!

  15. #
    15
    claire @the realistic nutritionist — January 21, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Oh my gosh I want to eat all of this for dinner.

  16. #
    16
    Kelley — January 21, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Having your BFF in town sounds awesome! And eating all the foods does too. Also? So does this! Yum!

  17. #
    17
    Brenda@Sugar-Free Mom — January 21, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Another gorgeous meal! My hubby always gets the food reheated for later, I mean I’d never get any pics if I made this for dinner, hubby and 3 kids would be hovering over me waiting anxiously to eat! Life if a food blogger LOL!

  18. #
    18
    Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) — January 21, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    I am loving this! It looks like the perfect meal.

  19. #
    19
    Laura @MotherWouldKnow — January 21, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I’ve been obsessed by the term “spatchcock” for years but I’ve actually tried to spatchcock a bird. Thinking I’d rather do a small chicken than a cornish hen, but whichever, you’ve definitely given me the courage to try it!

  20. #
    20
    amanda @ fake ginger — January 21, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I’ve been too scared to try this but yours is so pretty that I’m totally going to get over my fear. Glad you had a good time with your BFF! 🙂

  21. #
    21
    Cookin Canuck — January 22, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Spatchcocked…yep, I love that word, too! And these Cornish hen look absolutely amazing.

  22. #
    22
    Senika @ Foodie Blog Stalker — January 22, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Seinfeld reference for the WIN! Plus an amazeballs spatchcocked hen. Hee-Hee 🙂

  23. #
    23
    Catherine — January 22, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    A simply beautiful dish. xo Catherine

  24. #
    24
    Meg @ The Housewife in Training FIles — January 23, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Oh all the culinary terms that make me laugh. No shame. And our poor husbands…they definitely deserve more than leftovers but good thing they are pretty tasty like this bird!

  25. #
    25
    Denise — February 19, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    By the way, the Martha Stewart video doesn’t show how to spatchcock, but how to butterfly. Spatchcocking, as you describe and show, is to remove the breast bone to open the bird that way. butterflying removes the backbone, which is what Martha did in the video, despite using the wrong terminology. Food geek, I know…

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