Cornish Hens with Forty Cloves of Garlic


Garlic and herbs tucked under the skin give the hens additional flavor.


  • 40 cloves garlic, large cloves halved

  • 13 sprigs fresh oregano

  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into ¼-inch half moons

  • 1 rib celery, cut into ¼-inch crescents

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 3 Cornish game hens

  • 3 lemons, cut into quarters lengthwise

  • ¼ cup dry white wine

  • 1/2 to 1 cup Homemade Chicken Stock Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat

  • 1 ½ teaspoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut 6 garlic cloves crosswise into very thin slices. Set aside in a small bowl. In another small bowl, set aside 12 cloves. Pick leaves from 3 or 4 springs oregano, and set aside in a small bowl. Place remaining garlic cloves and oregano, onion, celery, and bay leaves in the bottom of a medium nonstick roasting pan.

  2. With your finger, gently loosen the skin on the breast of the hens. Gently slide a few garlic slices and a few oregano leaves under the skin in a single layer. Place 4 garlic cloves, 1 sprig oregano, and 2 lemon wedges in the cavity of each hen; set aside remaining lemon wedges.

  3. Tie each hen's legs together with kitchen twine. Tuck wings under breast; place hens in pan over the garlic mixture.

  4. Add wine and 1/2 cup chicken stock to pan. Brush the skin with melted butter; transfer pan to oven.

  5. Cook, basting occasionally and adding more chicken stock to pan if dry, until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.when measured with a meat thermometer, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove hens from pan, and set aside on a board to rest 5 minutes before serving with reserved lemon wedges.

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