French Fridays with Dorie: Olive oil cornish hens

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe will make you rethink roast chicken.  Often Neil will roast a chicken on Sunday afternoon and we will eat that for dinner with enough for leftovers through the week. But you know, sometimes you don’t want to be dealing with leftovers and even the smallest chicken will yield some.  Enter Cornish hens.  The perfect size for a roast chicken meal for two (plus some for Cleo).  Bonus, if you “spatchcock” the hens (remove the backbone and flatten the bird), they will cook in about 35 minutes at 500˚F.

Dorie’s recipe is simple, calling for a little tapenade under the skin of the bird, some olive oil and some lemon juice rubbed in for good measure.  I added some lemon zest and served it with home-made fingerling potato fries sprinkled with coarse sea salt.

Sunday dinner perfection!

Want to join French Fridays with Dorie? Join here.

French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we prefer if you purchase Around My French Table for yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!) which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.

* Did you enter my “Kitchen Counter Cooking School” book giveaway yet? (US/ Canadian residents only, sorry!).  Contest closes on Monday October 10th at 6pm EST – enter here.



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57 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Olive oil cornish hens

  1. Rose October 7, 2011 at 07:04 #

    I agree that these little babies were pretty much the perfect serving size. That plus the short cooking time plus the all over crispy skin made these a winner for me. I will definitely be buying these guys more often.

  2. Adriana October 7, 2011 at 07:21 #

    Aw… I wish I had found the cornish hens. Although I love packing leftovers for work, it’s always nice to cook a meal that’s just right in amount for two. Have a great weekend!

  3. Mr. Neil October 7, 2011 at 07:52 #

    I see Mlle Michels “conveniently” left out the part about removing the tailbone…butcher Mr. Neil here for that. 😉

    I love almsot any roasted bird, to be honest. Be it chicken or pigeon, goose or duck – hard to go wrong.

    To match the tapenade in the hen, and as it was our first chilly weekend of the season, I went for a wine a little heavier than I normally would. Paired this with a Beaujolais, AOC Brouilly. Don’t think insipid nouveau…bright fruit, but with a slight brooding spine from the Gamay grape. Fond memories of our recent trip that part of France…

  4. Trix October 7, 2011 at 08:13 #

    Your skin is so nicely browned! Looks lovely.

  5. Cher October 7, 2011 at 08:36 #

    Very pretty.
    I need an “in house” butcher 🙂

  6. NLM October 7, 2011 at 09:32 #

    Looks great. What isn’t better with tapenade?

  7. Belinda @zomppa October 7, 2011 at 10:03 #

    Love this dish – beautiful photos. Great flavors!

  8. SoupAddict October 7, 2011 at 10:11 #

    Beautiful photos!

  9. Ei October 7, 2011 at 10:12 #

    Looks great! I’m jealous of your photos! (And your potato fries). Yum!

  10. Sandi October 7, 2011 at 10:43 #

    That’s what “spatchcock” means…thanks! 😉

  11. Liz October 7, 2011 at 11:52 #

    How nice having Mr. Neil as your sous chef! Gorgeous photos as always…and I think I’ll be trying Cornish hens again with a different recipe 🙂

  12. Susan October 7, 2011 at 13:01 #

    These look perfect & I love your roasted potatoes! A great Autmn meal!

  13. Paula October 7, 2011 at 13:19 #

    Delicious! I love cornish hens and paired with your home-made fingerling fries and a nice Beaujolais makes me so sad that I didn’t get my dinner invitation in the mail on time!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend Mardi & Mr. Neil 🙂

    P.S. have you ever cooked them on the bbq rotisserie? So good.

  14. Elaine October 7, 2011 at 13:49 #

    Your cornish hen is so pretty and golden brown. This was the first time I have used the spatchcock technique, but it won’t be the last. It does make it roast evenly.

  15. Jason Phelps October 7, 2011 at 14:02 #

    I’m with you roasted bird is delectable any way it comes. Add the tapenade and it really goes places!

    Paired with a Brouilly seems like a killer match. Brouilly was new to me earlier in the year, and I found it to be second only to St. Amour for Cru Beaujolais that really pleased me.



  16. K A B L O O E Y October 7, 2011 at 16:27 #

    The pictures literally made my mouth water, I enjoyed learning a new word (spatchcock), and I’m going to commit “bright fruit, but with a slight brooding spine” to memory to intimidate my friends. Thanks Mardi and Mr. Neil.

  17. peggy October 7, 2011 at 17:25 #

    That looks so delicious it is making me hungry for chicken! I’m going to have to make this soon.

  18. PolaM October 7, 2011 at 18:23 #

    Looks really superb!

  19. Ann October 8, 2011 at 00:42 #

    I’m lovin’ this one….perfect little bird!

  20. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. October 8, 2011 at 15:01 #

    This looks like it came out perfectly! What a lovely dinner!

  21. Nana October 8, 2011 at 20:12 #

    One of the things I love about FFwd is the expressions used for
    various cooking techniques. I have never heard the term “”spatchcock”
    until I read the comments this week. My mother in law always called
    Cornish hens “pheasanette”. Hubby and I enjoyed ours, and will
    being using this recipe again. Your dish looks wonderful.

  22. My Traveling Troop October 9, 2011 at 11:16 #

    I used to love cooking cornish hens, but the recipe I used involved too many steps and ingredients. (eg. it wasn’t simple!) This definitely looks like something I can try any night of the week. Oooh! And that side of potatoes look like the perfect accompaniment.


  23. Elin October 9, 2011 at 23:01 #

    Yours looks delicious. I so love this olive tapenade ! I am glad that I did not give it a miss 🙂

  24. foodie @ tastingspot October 10, 2011 at 00:08 #

    this looks sooo delicious… i have been trying some of Dorie’s recipes as well and so far loving them… will give this a shot as well

  25. Jen Laceda October 10, 2011 at 01:00 #

    Hi Mardi,
    Your Cornish hen looks good!!! It’s been years since I’ve cooked these cute little hens 🙂 I wish my oven would reach 500F!! I have an ancient one…read about my oven dilemma when I made my macarons this weekend at my blog. I posted my macaron making adventure already 🙂

  26. Renee - Kudos Kitchen October 10, 2011 at 16:10 #

    Your cornish hen looks perfect Mardi. Glad you’re still involved with FFWD. I hope to be back cooking and baking with the group sometime soon.

  27. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction October 10, 2011 at 22:54 #

    These look so perfect… Love the photos!

  28. Alice October 12, 2011 at 09:18 #

    your pictures always make me swoon! Love your dish for your fingerling potato fries, which also makes me want to pluck some fries off the screen to try! 🙂 Delicious looking!!!

  29. penny aka jeroxie October 16, 2011 at 01:54 #

    Are these chickens like our poussins?

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