Cornish Hens are perfect for the holidays. They feel luxurious, but are budget friendly and quick cooking. Pair them with a chorizo cornbread stuffing for a holiday feast filled with an explosion of Latin flavors!
This holiday season, I’m switching things up a bit. I’m hosting a cozy gathering with just my immediate family, complete with matching pajamas! There will also be delicious food, of course. This year, instead of the traditional ham or turkey, I’m serving up Cornish hens with chorizo cornbread stuffing! There’s nothing more show-stopping that plating a whole roasted Cornish hen, it makes an ordinary meal feel super special, and even a little luxurious.
This delicious recipe features whole roasted Cornish hens, seasoned with a smoky, garlicky spice blend, and a scrumptious chorizo cornbread stuffing – it’s a perfect holiday meal to make when if you’re not planning a grand holiday feast, or just want to make an elegant dinner for two at home.
What Is A Cornish Hen?
A Cornish is a particular breed of chicken. Traditional Cornish hens are female Cornish chickens. The Cornish hens available in grocery stores are actually a hybridized breed of bird developed especially for commercial production. they usually weigh about 2 pounds and because of this, they’re perfect for a single serving.
What Kind Of Chorizo Do You Use?
This recipe calls for Mexican chorizo, which is found in the refrigerator section of your supermarket. It’s a pork based sausage that is spiced with whole pepper grains, cinnamon, achiote, and other spices, which produce its characteristic deep red color. Mexican chorizo must be cooked before eating, unlike Spanish style chorizo which is dried and cured, so it’s shelf stable. You can even use vegan chorizo and make my Vegan Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing!
Can I Use Regular Bread Instead of Cornbread for the Stuffing?
Absolutely! This recipe is super customizable, so the sky is the limit. You can use storebought or homemade cornbread, or any day old bread that’s drying out. I’ve made this recipe with day old loaves of French bread, and it was delicious! Any bread would work, except maybe cinnamon swirl bread. I’d steer clear of that option.
What To Serve With Cornish Hens?
You can serve Cornish Hens with the same type of side dishes that you’d serve with chicken. Here are some side dish recipes from Delish D’Lites that we think you’ll love!
- The Ultimate Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
- Delish and Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
- Buttery Garlic and Dill Corn
- Toasted Almond-Scallion Rice
- Mustard Roasted Potatoes
- Roasted Garlic, Rosemary & Thyme Potatoes
Cornish Hens With Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
Roasted Cornish Hens
- 1 package Cornish Hens (twin pack) defrosted
- 2 tablespoons chorizo drippings from cooking the chorizo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Chicken broth or melted butter for basting
Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
- 1 pound Mexican chorizo
- 1 cup diced carrots 1 large carrot
- 1 cup diced onion 1 medium onion
- 3/4 cup diced celery 1 celery stalk
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary minced
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 5 cups day-old cornbread cubed
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
Cook the Mexican chorizo in a dry skillet over medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon.
Once the chorizo is crisp, pull it out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Remove 2 tablespoons of the chorizo drippings and set that aside as well. You’ll be using that to season the Cornish hens.
In the same pan, add the carrots, onions and celery, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Saute the veggies for 10 minutes, or until tender.
Add the garlic and rosemary, and cook for 2 more minutes.
Combine the chorizo, veggies, cornbread, cranberries, chicken broth egg, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of chives.
Transfer the mixture to an oven proof dish.
Cover with foil and refrigerate while you season the Cornish hens.
For the Cornish hens
Combine the chorizo drippings, olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, rosemary, salt and pepper to create a flavorful paste.
Spread the mixture all over the Cornish hens, both inside and out.
Place the Cornish hens on a baking sheet lined with a rack.
Tie the legs together with butchers twine so the Cornish hens cook evenly and keep their shape. Also, tuck the wings back so the tips don’t burn while they roast.
Roast the Cornish hens at 400°F for 20 minutes, then lower to 375°F and roast until the internal temperature reads 165°F on a meat thermometer (this should take another 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the hens).
To get the skin nice and crisp, baste the hens every 20 minutes with chicken stock or olive oil.
Pop your chorizo cornbread stuffing into the oven with the Cornish hens during the last 20-25 minutes of cooking, just to crisp up the edges.
Serve the roasted Cornish hens on a bed of the chorizo cornbread stuffing, and garnish with the remaining fresh chives.