Olive-Olive Cornish Hens~

French Fridays with Dorie brought us a new ingredient this week: Cornish game hens.  A lovely entrée for a dinner party, these were spatchcocked (back bone removed, then breastbone crushed to flatten the hens for even cooking), black olive tapenade rubbed under the skin and then drizzled with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.  Taking only a half hour to roast, an elegant dinner is ready in less than an hour.

I found the meat a less than tender, Nick asked “where IS the meat???” and hubby wasn’t fond of the “olive stuff.”  I was delighted to learn that spatchcocking isn’t difficult with a good pair of kitchen shears, but I doubt I’d repeat this particular recipe for game hens.
The recipe can be viewed here.  You can see what other Doristas thought of this recipe here.

PS. I was nominated for most valuable foodie by Foodbuzz. Please check out all the incredible nominees and vote for your favorites here. Thanks for the honor!!!! xoxo


  1. Looks perfectly cooked and tender. Congrats!!

  2. Sorry to hear that this week’s recipe was not a hit, but it’s bound to happen on occasion. We really liked these, but more the technique than the exact recipe. I will definitely make this again, but perhaps with a little garlic, rosemary, and butter instead of the tapenade next time.

  3. Cornish hens are fun to prepare for a special occasion, but they aren’t my favorite either. Spatchcocking is a great technique and one well worth knowing about. Oh well, it’s all about trying new things and learning something along the way. Nice post.

  4. The Cafe Dietitian says:


    Most Valuable Foodie…you get my vote!

  5. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite says:

    Congrats on your nomination Lizzy!

    I LOVED these – ours were so tender and even the second one, reheated slowly in the oven a couple of days later was delicious. Will be making this again!

  6. Cornish hens are so much better than a regular roasted hen-these look tasty. Well done.

  7. I am not sure what are cornish hens Lizzy, it looks like a lovely roasted chicken with nice white flesh inside.

  8. Curry and Comfort says:

    Sorry the recipe didn’t turn out for you. But you did an excellent job. It looks so fancy and pretty. 🙂

  9. Three-Cookies says:

    This got mixed reviews by your household, seems to be a bit of a first

  10. Spatchcocking is certainly and interesting term…but makes for a beautiful presentation!

  11. Congrats on the nom! [salute!]

  12. It does look pretty and I’ve been looking for a good cornish hen recipe… and I have the book!

  13. The Mom Chef says:

    Those cornish hens are beautifully cooked. I love how spatchcocking works but think it makes the poor bird look a bit obscene. I want to cover her nether parts with a sprig of parsley or something.

    It’s perfectly cooked. Wow. (I love that napkin too.) 🙂

  14. Pegasuslegend says:

    How adorable these are to serve, presentation is perfect!

  15. Funny, these look very meaty to me! I went with a whole chicken because I am a piggie and wanted leftovers. : )

  16. Parsley Sage says:

    Heh. This recipe is making me laugh. Your experience seems to have been a bit better than the last one I read about though. I love cornish game hens though so this is perfect for me 🙂

    And of COURSE I made sure to vote for you!

  17. Sounds fantastic Lizzy, and always think how Lizzy make all these beauty things and post about them!! Normally I post two or three times at week, you are amazing, huggs gloria

  18. once in a blue moon says:

    your husband sounds like mine…

  19. They look good but I have to agree with your husband. They do look kind of scrawny.

  20. The Cafe Dietitian says:

    Hhahaha! Thanks for the definition. I seriously had never heard of it. eatlivetravelwrite gave an explanation too…appreciate it 🙂

  21. I’m sorry this wasn’t a hit at your home this week, but I can see with a houseful of men that it might not have enough meat for them. 🙂

  22. Oh, I forgot to say Congratulations on your nomination, Lizzy! So well-deserved!

  23. Eating Deliciously says:

    Congrats on your nomination!

  24. I just voted for you.I wish you will win 🙂

  25. Congratulations on your nomination, Lizzy! I already cast my vote for you.

    A friend at work warned me about the hen meat drying out. Unfortunately I did not get to practice my spatchcocking skills this time around, as the supermarket was out of Cornish game hens. Yours looks beautiful as always.

  26. Congrats, Lizzy! Hope you win!

  27. Magic of Spice says:

    Sorry that these did not turn out as you wanted, but they look great 🙂
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend

  28. I love spatchcocking, but then again, I also love ripping into leftover cooked chicken with my bare hands to shred the meat. Ah, the tactile things in life! Sorry it didn’t turn out as well as you’d hoped–I usually use some kind of cooking liquid so the chicken is spatchcocked then braised. Helps keep it moist.

    Congrats on your nomination!!!

  29. You’ve got my vote! Sorry it wasn’t a favorite, but they look cute.

  30. Congrats!
    I cooked a hen per person, so the meat factor worked out for everyone. I don’t think I make a very good “spatchcocker” though 🙂

  31. Cheap Ethnic Eatz says:

    Not a big fan of cornish hens either but I would love the tapenade. I have cooked a chicken cut and prepared that way….with lots of lime, garlic and coriander cooked on the top rack of a bbq….try it!

  32. Quay Po Cooks says:

    Congrats on the nomination. I love chicken prepared this way but not my hubby.

  33. I have to say this looks delicious! I love cornish hens AND olive tapanade. Congratulations on your nomination, Lizzy, and best of luck to you!

  34. Pachecopatty says:

    Congratulations on your nomination!
    I will have to give this recipe a try, I might like to try it with chicken as I’m not a huge fan of cornish game hens. Your bird does look good though;-)

  35. I love Cornish hens. Perfect as a one person meal.

  36. Love the presentation of your Cornish hens. We make Cornish Hens for special occasions sometimes, but usually serve them with a sauce of some kind.

    Congrats on your nomination!

  37. Wow, this is an elegant meal to prepare in such a short amount of time! It’s unfortunate that it didn’t turn out like you had hoped, but perhaps you can find a better recipe soon!

  38. Congrats on your nomination! Well deserved!!
    Your cornish hens look lovely! I havent made cornish hens in so long, this makes me want to!!

  39. Russell at Chasing Delicious says:

    Yum! i have made cornish hens in a while now. You’ve got me craving them again.

    And congrats on the nomination!!

  40. I like these little gems, but only when they are slow roasted for a couple of hours… they’re juicier that way.

  41. Spicie Foodie says:

    Hi Liz, I love cornish hens. Sorry to hear you guys didn’t like them as much. Your photos look lovely. Oh and congratulations on the nomination :)!

  42. Veronica Gantley says:

    Cornish hens are great! You have your own little chicken for yourself.

  43. Erin @ Cooking on Whim says:

    I made cornish game hens when I first started my blog– I think I had a similar reaction. Ok, but not sure I would do it again.

    Just came across your blog. Now am a follower through google!

  44. Inside a British Mum's Kitchen says:

    A perfect way to cook these birds – looks delicious.
    Mary x

  45. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says:

    Your cornish game hens look sooo good. 🙂

    I’m so happy to see that you’re up for the award for most valuable foodie! (that’s what I nominated you for!) 🙂 You deserve it!

  46. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    It’s my first time hearing “cornish game hens”. I’m still too hesitant to cook the whole chicken but I think I’ll need to do it soon to feed my family as my children grow bigger… Last but not least.. congratulations Lizzy on the nomination! I’m really happy for you! My very best wishes and good luck!!!

  47. Congratulations on the nomination Lizzy! You deserve it 🙂 I love to spatchcock chicken, but I’ve never tried cornish game hens. Sorry these weren’t a hit there, but they really do look wonderful!

  48. Dulce Dough says:

    I haven’t had cornish game hens in so long! Yours look wonderful! Congrats on your nomination!

  49. Genkinaonna says:

    Congrats on the nomination! Sorry the birds weren’t a hit with you…maybe chicken thighs next time…

  50. Vicki Bensinger says:

    Congrats on your Foodbuzz nomination. I love corish hens but haven’t made them in years. I’m sure this is delish since it’s Dorie’s

  51. your hens look so amazing 🙂 wish i can have that for dinner tomorrow!
    Congrats on your nominations & good luck!

  52. Congratulations on your nomination! I love this whole piece chicken!!

  53. Grubarazzi says:

    Cornish hens are almost too cute to eat! almost…

  54. Congrats on your nomination! And I love the new look here.

  55. Thanks so much, Sylvie! It’s a little more “me.”

  56. are you using an old door for your foreground/background? It looks fab! 🙂 Love your lemons with it… I bet they were tasty!

  57. onewetfoot.com says:

    Congratulations on your nomination – all the Doristas are rooting for you! I’m sorry the birds weren’t a hit for you. Love the site redesign!

  58. Hmmmm I think this look like a good.. I wonder if something like quail would be good with this recipe?

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