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Cornish Game Hens with Roasted Root Veggies served on a white plate.

Game Hens with Roasted Root Veggies

Game Hens with Roasted Root Veggies is a perfect dinner party recipe. Prepare it in advance, pop it into the oven, relax and enjoy your company.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Poultry
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 655 kcal


  • The Brine recommended
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • water
  • The Hens
  • 2 cornish game hens chicken works too
  • 1 large or 2 small parsnips cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 3 – 4 turnips trimmed and cut into quarters lengthwise
  • 6 slender or 3 large carrots trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces if large (if slender, leave whole after trimming)
  • 8 small red potatoes I found some that were about 2 inches in diameter and they were perfect, if you get bigger ones, go ahead and cut them in halves or quarters
  • 8 cipollini onions peeled*
  • 1 head garlic peeled (you can buy these already done for you, or do it yourself. Place in the microwave for 15 – 20 seconds to help with peeling them)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 sage sprigs optional if you can’t find them
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried thyme
  • ¾ to 1 cup chicken stock preferably homemade or low-sodium
  • *The easy way to peel a cipolline onion is to put it briefly into hot boiling water about 1 minute then put it into an ice bath.


  • I highly recommend brineing either Cornish hens or chicken. It just makes them more tasty and juicy. So, combine the salt and sugar in a large deep pot; add cold water and stir until they dissolve. Once dissolved, add the hens and make sure they are submerged in the brine (you can use a plate to make them stay down if they insist on floating) brine for 1 hour, then rinse in cold water and dry well (oil and water don’t mix, so make sure they are dry).
  • While the hens are brinieng, prepare your vegetables. 
  • If you prep the veggies in advance, you will want to put the parsnips and turnips (and potatoes if you cut them) into a bowl with ice water to keep them from turning ugly; drain and dry them well before proceeding to the next step)
  • Place all the vegetables in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss well. Add some thyme, salt, and pepper to your liking and toss again. Place the vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan. 
  • Heat oven to 375 F.
  • Inside of each hen, stick one of the rosemary sprigs, the sage, and ¼ lemon. Quickly truss the legs and wings to keep them close to the bird. Rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and set on a roasting rack. Place this over the vegetables. (If you don’t have a roasting rack, place the hens directly on the vegetables.) Place in the oven shut the door, and go do something else for about an hour.
  • After your hour is up (did you do something fun? I hope so) the vegetable should be tender and the hens cooked, if not, let them go a little longer, you can kick up the heat to 400 °F if you want. Add the chicken stock and let cook in the oven for about 5 – 10 minutes more.
  • Remove the hens to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and allow to sit for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Take the roasting pan to the stove and over medium-high heat, cook the vegetable, stirring occasionally, until the chicken stock and hen drippings have reduced and nicely glazed the vegetables and they are tender.
  • Remove the “stuffing” from the hens, cut into halves, and serve with the vegetables.


Serving: 1gCalories: 655kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 36gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 472mgFiber: 9g
Keyword Cornish hens baked veggies, oven baked game hens, roasted veggies oven
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