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Cooking Cornish Game Hens

At what temperature and for how long should a 1-3/4-lb. Cornish Game Hen cook?

Technically you're asking the wrong question, you know. The right question is, "At what temperature will my Cornish game hen be done?" And our answer is, "When you insert your instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and it registers 165F (74C), it's done. Another indicator that it's done is when you prick the thigh and the juices run clear."

Now, if you're going to use a sorry excuse about not having an instant-read thermometer, we'll tell you to roast a 1-3/4-lb. bird at 400F (205C) for 35 to 40 minutes. A smaller hen, 1-1/2 pounds or less will take 25 to 30 minutes. You should still make sure that the juices run clear.

If you want to dress the bird up a bit before popping it into the oven, you could rub it with a mixture of dried thyme, salt, and pepper (perhaps a teaspoon each), brush the skin with a couple tablespoons of melted butter, and/or put a sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary in the cavity for added flavor.

And you absolutely should get an instant-read thermometer. Ovens vary, birds and roasts and loaves of bread vary, and the surest way to know they're done is with a thermometer. Considering how useful they are, the cost is negligible.

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