Baked cornish game hen is a favorite dish amongst my friends as it contains a lower fat content and leaner meat than the normal chicken. This dish can be prepared using the oven. The temperature that I prefer to use for this dish is 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The cook time is key to a good result. Now the question. How long to cook cornish hen in oven at 400 degrees? This post gets you covered for baked cornish hen. Read on to learn how to make this dish so that it steals the show on the dinner table.
You have to bake cornish hen at 400 degrees in the oven for 40 minutes. This brings the hen to tender and crispy perfection. If you want an extra crispy chicken, keep it for a couple of minutes longer in the oven or turn on the broiler at the end of the cooking time. However, make sure the internal temperature of the hen doesn’t exceed 180 degrees F as this is the maximum point at which the meat is easy to chew and tastes good. At 185 F, it’s already dry and rubbery.
If you have plenty of time, you can cook cornish hen at 350 degrees for 1 hour. This will make the hen golden and slightly crispy outside and exceptionally tender inside. If you want to achieve an extremely crispy and crunchy coating, you might think of roasting the cornish hen at 425 degrees. We recommend you to avoid a full baking session at 425 degrees as it is too much for the small cornish game hen. Your best bet is to alternate this high temperature with a lower one. Those who are not a fan of crispy food may slow cook the hen at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Here is how you do it. Bake the hen first at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and keep baking for another 30 minutes. This combination brings about a silky melt-in-your-mouth chicken with a firm and golden crust.
Given its small size, cornish hen is best cooked at 350 and 400 degrees. Both temperatures provide a wonderful texture and an excellent taste. At 425 degrees F, the hen turns out too firm and brown, while 300 degrees F involves a long cooking time. But of course, if you are not pushed for time, you can go for 300 degrees and enjoy a super velvety turn-apart meat in the end.
Here’s the recipe to cook a cornish hen in the oven.
To make cornish game hen cook faster, wrap it in aluminum foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and roast for 7-8 minutes to make the top crispy. Aluminum foil will render the meat juicier and cut down the cooking time by 10-12 minutes. Also you can resort to convection fan to speed up the baking process with a better circulation of the hot air around the chicken.
While seasonings you use right before baking do their job in improving the hen’s flavor, nothing beats marinade. A cornish hen that soaked in marinade all night is infused with flavors to the core and is much tastier. Making a marinade is simple. We stick to one made of olive oil, minced garlic, onion slices, oregano, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix these ingredients in a bowl, then pour the mixture in a Ziploc bag for storing food. Toss the hen into the bag, press the air out and seal. Let it marinate for 5 hours, ideally overnight, in the refrigerator. On the next day, remove the flavorful hen from the storage bag and bake it to eventually pull off a dish that can drive any gourmand insane.
I normally remove all the hairs and feathers from the cornish hen with a lighter to burn them off. Then I place the cornish hen into a large bowl of hot water and gives the hen a full scrub. This is the initial rinse to wash off dirt from the hen. Next I change to an empty bowl and pour lots of salt in it. And I start scrubbing all the areas of the hen with the salt. Next I open up its cavity and pull out all the unwanted parts such as intestines (if they have not been removed yet by the butcher) and i will wash the cavity with hot water, followed by another salt scrub. After that, I leave the hen to fully dip inside the bowl of fresh water with salt added for another 30 minutes or so. Finally, I give the hen a final wash on its outside skin and inside of the cavity.
The cornish hen internal temperature will reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit when done. The meat thermometer should be probed at the thickest part of the chicken i.e the thigh and breasts areas.
It takes 60 minutes to cook a cornish hen in the oven at 350 degrees. This will give you a tender meat in the inside and a golden crisp skin outside.
If you do not want a crispy skin, 300 degrees will give you that. But it takes longer to cook the cornish hen. You will have to wait 1.5 hours to cook the cornish hen to well done.