These Cornish Hens with Rosemary Wine Sauce are perfect for a date night, Valentine’s day, birthday dinner, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner and are totally company worthy (so they are fancy enough for a dinner party). This recipe is also economical, simple, easy to make and you can make it in advance. All my favorite things…
This post contains affiliate links (See Disclosure Policy)
The serving sizes in all my recipes are adjustable by simply clicking on the number of servings, so you can make this recipe for all of the above and as many as people as you want! It’s also Weight Watchers friendly – yay! And it’s only 2 WW fsp’s. I love fancy dinners that are healthy and don’t break the WW points bank!
If you have never made Cornish hens, don’t be intimidated- they are just little chickens and nothing more. Really- it’s true! Many assume that they are like a pheasant or grouse because they are also known as Cornish Game Hens, but the “game” part doesn’t mean wild or refer to anything remotely exotic in this case; they are simply chickens that were cross-bred to be smaller with more breast meat. Yet they somehow gained and retained this reputation of being “exotic.” You can read more about that HERE. But even if they aren’t exactly exotic, because they are smaller, cuter and you get half a hen all to yourself, they just feel fancier than eating your typical communal roasted chicken.
Cooking a Cornish Game Hen
The only difference is that when you cook them, it’s best to remove the backbone because the bones are super tiny and you don’t want your fellow diners to choke on them. It’s really easy to do and I give instructions with photos in the recipe (and the video in the NOTES at the end of the recipe). Otherwise, you roast them as you would a roasted chicken, but in this case, in wine sauce.
What to serve with Cornish hens
Although rice is the most popular accompaniment to this dish, you can serve Cornish game hens with potatoes, pasta and just about anything you’d serve with chicken. And I like to serve them with a garden salad as well. I made an escargot stuffed pasta to go along with this because it was my friend’s birthday and I wanted to make something really special (recipe coming soon, but PM me if you want it!) but you can use any pasta recipe. And if you decide on rice, my Sausage Apple Rice goes very nicely with this recipe!
The best part of this recipe is that it can be made ahead! I don’t like the stress of cooking while guests are over or for a special dinner, so I always cook ahead. My Easy Homemade Lasagna is another one of my make-ahead dishes for entertaining. I love that I can make it waaay ahead and freeze it!
Don’t forget dessert!
If you’re looking for a dessert to go along with this dinner and want to stay on track, then I would suggest my Weight Watchers Friendly Healthy Chocolate Cake
BUT….if you want to indulge, then give my Grand Marnier Cheesecake with Chocolate Glaze a try!
These Cornish Game Hens with Rosemary Wine Sauce are a great EASY option for any special occasion meal- enjoy!~
Cornish Hens with Rosemary Wine Sauce
- fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9X13 pan with non-stick cooking spray
- Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens under cold water and pat dry. Split each hen in half lengthwise.
- Partially remove the backbone from the middle
- * See video in NOTES
- Place hens, meat side up, in pan.
- Whisk together wine, white wine vinegar, soya sauce, rosemary, thyme and garlic in a separate bowl, then pour over hens. *Cover the hens' legs with a little aluminum foil to prevent burning (this can also be done during the cooking process, if you start to see them browning faster than the rest of the hen)
- Bake uncovered (preferably on roast if you have a convection oven) for 50 - 60 minutes basting occasionally, as you would a chicken or turkey; just spoon the sauce over the hens to baste. Cook until juices run clear and hens are cooked inside (no longer pink).
- Serve warm (1/2 a hen per person) with a spring of fresh rosemary, if desired.