One cornish game hen usually serves two, the soft and succulent flesh is so easily seasoned and cooked, and cornish game hens make a great feature for a holiday dinner. These roasted cornish game hens are seasoned with lime and rosemary and stuffed with brioche and sweet Italian sausage.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens by Diverse Dinners

Stuffed and roasted cornish game hens are so flavorful they work with almost anything, traditionally potatoes and root vegetables feature on the same plate, especially at this time of year.

If your carving skills needs work, and you don’t have a master carver in the family, you can butterfly your roasted cornish game hens, by cutting straight through the breast lengthways before seasoning and cooking, and serve the stuffing as a dressing on the side. This option allows you to avoid the fuss when serving.

It wasn’t my original intention to include brioche in the stuffing.  I wanted to use cornbread, but I didn’t have time to make my own cornbread so I went in search of some at my local grocery store. Sadly, I ended up empty-handed, the store only sold cornbread in their deli and the deli in my local grocery store opens later than the grocery store itself. The sales assistant gave me a fake sorry face when she explained this to me and kept it moving – bless her! Without cornbread I had to find an alternative. I thought , “brioche will do”, and it did. 

You must give this one a try, the stuffing is remarkable, I only wish I made more.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens by Diverse Dinners

Roasted Cornish Game Hens
Serves 4
Lime and Rosemary roasted cornish game hens with brioche and sweet Italian sausage
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr 15 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr 15 min
  1. Juice of two limes
  2. 3 tsp kosher salt
  3. 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  4. 2 stalks fresh rosemary (removed from stalks)
  5. 2 cornish game hens
  6. Generous drizzle of olive oil
  7. 1/2 cup chicken stock
  8. 1/2 cup white wine
  9. 1/2 onion (sliced)
Brioche and Sweet Italian Sausage Stuffing Ingredients
  1. 2 sweet Italian sausage links - skins removed (approx. 6oz)
  2. 2 cups brioche breadcrumbs - use day old brioche, cut in chunks and pulse in food processor or blender.
  3. 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  4. 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary (removed from stalks)
  5. 1 tbsp red onion (shredded)
  6. Juice of 1/2 lime
  7. 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  8. 1/4 cup chicken stock
Equipment and Utensils
  1. Large roasting pan
  2. Small saucepan
  1. Add salt, pepper and rosemary leaves to lime juice.
  2. Coat hens with seasoned lime juice cover hens and allow to marinate for 1-2 hours.
  3. Create stuffing while hens are marinating.
Brioche and Sweet Italian Sausage Stuffing Directions
  1. Using a fork, combine sausage, brioche breadcrumbs, salt, rosemary, onion and lime juice.
  2. Heat chicken stock and add butter.
  3. Once butter has melted pour stock over sausage mixture and combine thoroughly.
  4. Mold ingredients into two equally size mounds and store in the fridge until hens is fully marinated.
Cornish Game Hens Cooking Directions
  1. Remove hens and stuffing from fridge and place hens in roasting pan.
  2. With a spoon carefully fill hen cavities with stuffing.
  3. Fold the skin around the open cavity over the stuffing and secure with wet toothpicks.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and then place hens in preheated oven at 400 in the lower part of the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Check hens and pierce skin to remove any juices from the hens. Simply tip the roasting pan to allow the juices to flow from the hens.
  6. Transfer hen juices to saucepan and set aside.
  7. Return to the oven and cook for a further 30 mins.
  8. Check hens once again, the hens should be almost done.
  9. Again, tip roasting pan to drain hen juices and transfer to saucepan.
  10. Move hens to the middle of the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes.
  11. The hens should be nicely browned with crispy skins.
  12. Tent hens with foil to keep warm.
  13. Add chicken stock, wine and onion to reserved hen juices and place on high heat.
  14. Reduce by one third.
  15. Pour a small helping of gravy in the base of each plate and serve the hens on top to preserve the crispy skin.