Valentine's Day is right around the corner and every year, I try to find a way to present a special dinner for my family and I. This year, since the kids are grown, they have their own plans, so I decided to treat my husband to a delicious dinner of Rosemary Orange Cornish Hens and a side of Parmesan Rosemary Roasted Potatoes.
My husband and I are very budget conscious these days. We are trying really hard to get out of debt this year, so every penny counts when it comes to budgeting. But there are special times, like Valentine's Day when I like to kick things up a notch and make a fancier meal.
For this dish, I decided to steer clear of steak since that would have cost me around $20 for 2 steaks. While I was recently shopping at Walmart and browsing the frozen meat section, I spied the Cornish Game Hens — and coming in at $3 per bird, I knew this was going to be the perfect budget-friendly meal to feed my man for Valentine's Day.
What bumps this meal up and elevates it to a fancy dinner meal is the taste of fresh rosemary and orange slices. I basically spent around $15 for this meal.
How to Make Orange Rosemary Cornish Hens
Rinse and clean the birds and pat them dry. Drizzle on some olive oil and then sprinkle the hens with salt and pepper. Then, quarter oranges. Stuff each bird cavity with 1 orange quarter and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Place in a 9×13 roasting pan and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
(I fixed a bird for each member of the family! After they got home from their planned activities they can taste this delicious meal I made!)
Take the remaining orange quarters along with one sliced onion and place around the entire outside edge of the pan. Roast in the oven for 450 degrees for 25 minutes.
While your birds are in the oven roasting, slice your potatoes in half. Toss with 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary and 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread on a pan and roast for about 25- 30 minutes.
After 25 minutes, take the birds out of the oven. Mix together chicken broth and Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and pour over the hens.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 45 minutes. or until the hens are golden brown. If the hens do not get as brown as you like, remove them from the pan at the end. Place on a cookie sheet. Place under the broiler for about 5 minutes until you get that gorgeous golden brown color.
Take the pan drippings and place in a saucepan. Boil until the liquid reduces to a sauce, about 5-7 minutes. Then drizzle that over the hens.
Serve alongside the Parmesan Roasted potatoes for the perfect Valentine meal.
- 2 cornish hens, about 2 pounds each
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. If your hens have giblets in the cavity, remove them from cornish hens.
- Drizzle cornish hens with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season hens with salt and pepper on all sides.
- Place 1 orange wedge and 1 sprig of rosemary in cavity of each cornish hen. Arrange in a 9x13 dish, and arrange remaining orange wedges and quartered onions around hens. Roast at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together chicken broth, mustard, and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and pour over hens.
- Continue roasting about 45 minutes longer, or until hens are golden brown and juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Baste with juices from pan every 10 minutes.
- Transfer hens, oranges, and onions to a platter, pouring liquid from cavities into the roasting pan.
- Transfer pan juices to a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Boil until liquids reduce to a sauce, 5-7 minutes.
- Arrange hens on plate with Parmesan Roasted potatoes and then spoon the sauce over hens and serve.