Roasted orange-herb game hens

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
50 min
6 min
44 min
A dried-herb blend goes beautifully with citrus (in this case, orange zest), poultry (in this case, cornish game hens), and shallots. We love the smaller size and presentation when using hens versus a whole chicken, but this method works on chicken too. If you feel like splurging on ingredients and putting the flavor of this dish over the top, you can use an assortment of chopped fresh herbs (keep in mind you’ll need about 1⁄3 cup for this recipe) instead of the herbes de Provence. Also, if shallots are not available in your market, substitute 1⁄3 cup minced onion and 1 teaspoon minced garlic.


Uncooked shallot(s)

cup(s), minced

Herbes de Provence

1 Tbsp, or dried fines herbs

Orange zest

2 tsp

Table salt

¼ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp, freshly ground

Uncooked skinless Cornish hen

3 pound(s), 2 (1 1/2 pounds) halved

Reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup(s)

Fresh orange juice

¾ cup(s)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Combine the shallots, fines herbes, orange zest, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture to another small bowl; set aside.
  2. Gently loosen the skin from the breast meat of each hen half. Rub the 1 tablespoon herb mixture into the meat, under the skin, of each of the hen halves.
  3. Place the hens in a roasting pan and roast 10 minutes. Add the broth. Roast, basting the hens twice with the broth, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thigh registers 180°F, about 30 minutes longer.
  4. Transfer the hens to a platter; cover loosely with foil and keep warm. Place the roasting pan directly on top of two burners over high heat. Add the orange juice and the remaining herb mixture; bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, about 4 minutes. Serve the hens with the sauce. Remove the skins from the hens before eating. Yields 1⁄2 Cornish game hen with 1⁄4 cup sauce per serving.