Garlic and Lime Cornish Hen with Mexican Rice


Bottom line up front: I’ve impressed myself. My experience with large bodies of meat is limited (that sounded weird), but really…I have never cooked a turkey, ham  or pot roast in my life. The thought of preparing a Thanksgiving bird gives me a panic attack. So many methods– brining, baking, frying, smoking– ahh! Too much pressure. I really outdid myself with this one though and I believe I’ve proven my worth in the kitchen…I made these hens my bitches.  Girls, this could be your “let me show him I can cook” dish.

The great thing about Cornish Hens is they are cheap. Whole Foods had them on sale for $6 a piece today so that means you can probably find them at your regular store for half that. Don’t let the name scare you off– these don’t taste gamey at all. Cornish hens are just hybrid, younger chickens. Sort of like the veal of poultry. The classic way to cook these is usually with lemon, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper, but I wanted to try something more unique. I have like a one year supply of cilantro in my fridge, so I wanted to find a way to get rid of some of it with this meal– and it worked!  The flavors from the lime zest, garlic and cilantro really come out after roasting but they don’t overpower the dish at all. Despite the success of this effort I need to work on my carving skills. I’m a little embarrassed to show you my hack job, but whatever… it tasted DE-LISH.


Serves 2

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced finely ($.25)
  • 1 tbs grated lime zest ($.20)
  • 1 tbs chopped cilantro ($.10)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin ($.05)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($.05)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Cornish game hens patted dry ($12.00)
  • 2 tbs melted butter ($.20)
  • 1 C chicken broth (reduced sodium) ($.75)

Total: $13.60


Preheat the oven to 450.

Remove the gizzard bag from hen *do not forget to do this*. Combine garlic, cilantro, lime zest, cumin, cayenne  and salt in a small bowl. Make a pocket between the skin of the hens and breast and loosen with your fingertips. Spread half of the herb mixture under the skin of each hen and put a little inside the cavity. Brush butter onto all sides of skin and season generously with sea salt and pepper. Tie the hens’ legs together with kitchen twine or create  little slits in the skin near the cavity (see pic–I definitely don’t have twine laying around here) and insert the ends of the legs through the slits. Place hens in a roasting pan, preferably with rack. I lined mine with foil to make cleanup easier.


Roast hens until golden and cooked through, adding broth after 10 minutes and basting two or three times while roasting. Total cooking time should be about about 30 minutes. Transfer the hens to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes. These look and smell amazing so I know it’s hard to wait but this step is really important– let those babies rest!

Finished Product
Finished Product

Mexican Rice


  • 1 C long grain white rice such as basmati ($.75)
  • 1 tbs olive oil ($.15)
  • 1 1/2 C chicken broth ($1.00)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped ($.25)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped ($1.00)
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped ($.25)
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped ($.25)
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon ($.20)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin ($.05)
  • 1/2 C chopped cilantro ($.50)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($.10)



In a medium sauce pan, cook rice in olive oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in onion, green pepper, jalapeno, and diced tomato. Add bouillon cube, salt and pepper, cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes and fluff with fork.

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