Herb Roasted Cornish Hens and Pinot Noir

by Janette Fuschi (Recipe & Content re-posted with permission from Honest Cooking)

Herb roasted Cornish hens with root vegetables might just be the perfect one pan, fall dinner for two or a small group. Individual Cornish hens are crusted with fresh herbs, roasted on a bed of root vegetables and apple and served with a bottle of Cavit Pinot Noir.

Thanksgiving is a busy time for large family groups and lots of cooking. In the past, it has been just my husband and I for Thanksgiving and sometimes I don’t want to buy a giant turkey for two people. I also don’t need all the fuss of a big meal production, so I came across a solution.

A couple of years ago saw Cornish hens become popular and since they weigh about two pounds each they are perfect for individual servings. They’re also sold in a pack of two… how convenient!

I love roasting meats in a cast iron skillet. In this instance, the vegetables cook in the pan with the hens so it’s a one pan meal and serving the meal right from the pan not only cuts back on dishes, but makes for a lovely presentation.

I use a lot of herbs this time of year and there’s nothing better than a herb crusted chicken or turkey. I also use a lot of fresh apple cider in my cooking and for this recipe I mixed it with melted butter and brushed it all over the skin for that extra flavor.

“It’s always nice to have a good wine that pairs well with Thanksgiving dinner. I’m excited to be working again with Cavit wines and pairing my favorite varietal of theirs, Pinot Noir.”

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Author: Janette Fuschi
Recipe Type: Main
Serves: 2 servings



  • 2 Cornish hens
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • ½ orange, cut into wedges
  • 2 ounces carrots, peeled cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 ounces parsnip, peeled cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 pound yams, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 sweet apple, peeled and cut into wedges


  • reheat oven to 375°F.
  • Dry the skin of the Cornish hens.
  • Mix the melted butter and apple cider in a bowl.
  • Stir in the rosemary, sage, thyme, salt & pepper to the melted butter and mix well.
  • Brush the butter mix all over the hens, inside and out and under the skin, reserve some of the butter mix for the vegetables. Add a garlic clove and orange wedges to each of the hen cavities.
  • Tie the legs together.
  • Add the carrots, parsnips, yams and apple to a bowl. Drizzle with the remaining melted butter and mix well so they are all coated.
  • Spread an even layer of the vegetables in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or roasting dish.
  • Set the hens on top of the vegetables and add and garlic around the hens and vegetables. Roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour and a meat thermometer measures 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the leg.

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