Okay, so it's not a rotisserie chicken. It's better. It's a cute. It's tasty. And it's quick to cook in the air fryer. A Cornish hen actually is a young broiler chicken that's a cross between a couple of chicken breeds. So a Cornish hen does "taste like chicken." I actually prefer to cook larger chickens--Cornish hens weigh no more than two pounds--in the oven because I like leftovers. Nonetheless, a Cornish game hen is perfect if you're only serving a couple of people and don't want to be eating chicken all week. Plus, you can pop a Cornish hen in the air fryer and cook it in about half an hour. In the air fryer, the hen develops a crispy brown crust, similar to that rotisserie chicken you might get at the market or wholesale club. You can season the Cornish hen with the herbs and spices you like. I just dust my Cornish hen with a little rotisserie chicken seasoning (McCormick makes it) and minimize the fussing about in the kitchen. I don't cut the bird in half until after it cooks. The photos I'm including show a cut down the center of the bird, which I make before serving the two halves, one per person. If you have hearty appetites and want to serve one bird per person, go for it. Just, please, please cut the bird into halves before you serve it. It won't look as cute on the plate, but it also won't be as likely to wind up on your tablecloth or the floor. Trust me. Those whole little hens on plates shown in the magazine spreads at holiday times? Well, those little hens sneak off the plates as soon as diners pick up their forks. So enjoy your Cornish hen, but cut it into halves before you try to eat it.
Air Fryer Cornish Hen -- Serves 2
1 Cornish hen, approximately 1.25-1.5 pounds
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2-1 teaspoon of rotisserie chicken seasoning
Canola oil or non-stick cooking spray
If the Cornish hen is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator for a day or two. An hour or so before you plan to cook the bird, put it in a plastic bag with the lemon juice and salt and, after sealing the bag, shake it a little to coat the hen. Put the bag in the refrigerator for about half an hour and then take it out so that the hen can come to room temperature. Remove the hen from the bag and pat it dry. Discard the bag and marinade. Put the hen in the air fryer and spritz the bird with canola oil or non-stick cooking spray on all sides. Dust the hen with the rotisserie seasoning and then spritz the bird again to make the seasoning adhere. Set the air fryer at 400 degrees and cook the bird for about 10 minutes. Flip the bird over and cook it for 10 minutes more. Flip it again (so it's breast side up) and cook it for 5-15 minutes more or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees at the thickest part of the hen. Don't overcook the hen or it will be dry! During this last cooking period, if the bird is browning too much, turn down the heat to 360 degrees. When the bird is done, remove it carefully from the air fryer and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before you cut it in half, along the breast bone. The hen is great served with rice or potatoes and the veggie of your choice.