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Monday, October 31, 2011

Genius, Panini-Pressed Cornish Game Hen (Spinach Optional)

I'm so excited to present to you my version of this recipe which I adapted from Alton Brown!  I was so impressed with the genius technique of this simple, quick and delicious main course when I first saw it on ABC Good Morning America. This is particularly great to cook on a weeknight when you're hungry and craving a good meal you can eat right away without a lot of preparation.  Although I feel it's wonderful for two to four people, I think it's fantastic for one or two.  It also makes a great presentation if you have any guests.

                                                 Pure Genius!

                                    And Oh, So Delicious!

Adapted from Alton Brown as seen on ABC GMA

Serves 2

  • 1 Cornish game hen, approx. 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 lbs.
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt for the hen + a sprinkle of table salt for the spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper + a sprinkle for the spinach
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • All-purpose, non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/ea. 9 oz. bag baby spinach (optional)*

  1. Preheat a panini press on high.*
  2. Wash and pat the hen dry.
  3. Working on a cutting board, use poultry shears or a very sharp knife (I love my surgery shears!) to cut down the center of the top of the bird along the breastbone.  Open up the hen like a book and place body up on the cutting board.  Give the bird a good smack in the middle with your hands to press it as flat as possible.  To remove the backbone, cut along both sides of it from the neck to the tailbone. You can discard the backbone or save it for use in a soup stock.
  4. Sprinkle both sides of the hen with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Spray the bottom of the panini press with the non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Place the bird skin side up on the press. (I cook half a bird at a can keep it warm while you cook the other half.)  *Spray the hen with the non-stick cooking spray and close the lid.  (Don't forget to place a drip pan under the press to catch the juices.)
  7. Place about a 4-lb. weight on the press and cook for about 10 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. (I use an iron skillet as a weight.)
  8. Remove the hen from the press and let it rest for about 3 minutes before serving. 
For each serving:
While the hen is resting, toss half the bag of spinach onto the panini and sprinkle with a little table salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Close the lid to the press and cook about 30-45 seconds.  The spinach will soak up the hen's juices and be very flavorful!

Immediately place the spinach on an individual serving plate and top with a Cornish hen half!  Presto...a quick, lovely, delicious and impressive dinner with practically no effort!

*Tips:  I haven't tried it; but if you don't have a panini press, a similar grill such as a George Foreman may work.  In his TV presentation, Alton said most any green salad mix would work in this recipe; but, here again, I have not tried that.  He also suggested brushing the hen with olive oil right before closing the lid: I used the cooking spray here, as offered in the printed recipe, and it worked fine...I haven't tried the olive oil yet.

Enjoy this after a busy day when you're tired and hungry!  Better yet, impress your loved one with this delicious dinner on date night and be prepared for lots of hugs and kisses!

Printable Recipe

What's That Got to do with This?

We had so much fun with my grandson the other day decorating this Halloween cake!  (I confess, it was from a kit...he's only 2 1/2!)  He was so excited to decorate the cake.  He's not allowed a lot of sweets; and as you can imagine, most of his decorations went into his mouth!

                                         Yes, Put It Right There!

                                            Good Job!

     <<<<<<<<<Happy Halloween>>>>>>>>>


  1. Mmm! That sounds fabulous! I love cornish games hens, they're a great option when there's only two of you in the house :) And your grand itty bitty is doing a brilliant time decorating!

  2. I just found your blog through The Pioneer Woman website. I love the name you chose, and your humorous take on cooking.

  3. Oh, your grandson is adorable!!! And LOVE your game hen and the great idea for cooking the spinach...yummy!

  4. What a great idea! Thank you for inspiring me with another delicious chicken treat. I love cornish hens. You make me smile, week after week. Many blessings on this Wednesday. I hope it is full of laughter and fun!

  5. @Parsley Sage and Irish American Mom - Welcome! I love unique blogs such as yours! I love how quickly this hen cooks and think you will too!

    The name for my blog came about when my son and I were going through available blog names. I asked him what he thought of when he thought of me. I thought he would say something like cooking, food, etc. Oh no! He surprised me and said "chatters". I laughed so hard and changed my name to Bonnie Banters! Those of you who know me can see how applicable that name is! My side of the family is like that. Plus, Southerners just tend to be story tellers. Someone once said give me a topic and I'll tell you a story about it! You just have to stop me!

    Hope you enjoy my recipes and have lots of fun here!

    @Lizzy and Monet - Thank you for your continued means so much to me. I know you'll enjoy this hen!

    Glad I can bring a little smile to you. Thank you for your nice comments and hope you enjoy the rest of the week!
    November 2, 2011 10:36 AM

  6. Genius is right, Bonnie. Just found a new use for our panini maker. Great presentation!
    (And your grandson--what a little cutie pie!)

  7. @Cheryl and Adam - Isn't it great to have such a unique way to use the panini maker!

    Thanks for such a complimentary remark on my presentation...that really means a lot coming from an expert writer as yourself! I do try! Having worked for the Federal Government when I was young (another hat I've worn), I tend to be pretty analytical; however, I'm human and can still have occasional typos like a lot of people!

  8. Oh--another cute photo of your grandson!! I have never made cornish game hens any other way other than roasting. This sounds like a wonderful way to cook them!