Christmas Party: Game Hen, Meyer Lemon, Fennel, Olive

Roasted Cornish Game Hen
Meyer Lemon, Fennel, Olive, Garlic
Meyer Lemon Cream Fraiche “Gravy”

Last week, looking for inspiration for the main course to be served at A Foodie Christmas Dinner Party using in-season Meyer lemons, I googled “cornish game hen meyer lemon” and discovered a fabulous yet simple recipe for a crowd by Robert Gauthier on the Los Angeles Times site here.

Since our meal was to be several courses and the fresh Cornish game hens weighed almost two pounds apiece, I had the butcher slice them lengthwise so each guest would enjoy half a hen. We slipped  thinly sliced Meyer lemon under the skin and roasted them over sliced fennel, mixed olives, thyme, garlic and more Meyer lemons. The sauce was a pan gravy with tangy creme fraiche and brightened Meyer lemon juice.

Game Hen Meyer Lemon Recipe

Slice some Meyer lemon wheels very thin to slip under the skin of the hens.

After the birds have been rinsed and patted dry, loosen the skin and slide about three lemon wheels under the skin of each half-bird.

Season both sides of the hens with salt and fresh ground pepper.

In a roasting pan, place sliced fennel bulbs, cloves of smashed peeled garlic, mixed olives, thyme and thick sliced Meyer lemon wheels.

Place the half-hens on top of the lemon vegetable mixture and drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 425° F for 30 minutes, then lower heat to 350° until the meat is just cooked through.

For the party, I roasted ten half-hens in two roasting pans at 400°F convection until the skins were golden and crisp. The meat was perfectly cooked when the skins were golden brown.

We made a gravy from the pan juices and added creme fraiche and Meyer lemon juice. A small amount of sauce was ladled onto the plate, then it was topped with the hen and the lemon vegetable mixture. Roasted garlic mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts with hollandaise were served on the side.


The sweet lemon under the crisp skin is simply delightful.

More Meyer Lemon Love Here:

Dreamy Meyer Lemon Salad with Edible Violas

Steamed Salmon & Spinach Salad, Meyer Lemon Cream

Warm Wishes for a Very Merry Christmas
from Our Home to Yours!

6 thoughts on “Christmas Party: Game Hen, Meyer Lemon, Fennel, Olive”

  1. of all of the things i have cooked with
    i have never cooked with fennel…other than the seeds when i make italian sausage.
    i may try this as soon as i can find meyer lemons here.
    blessings to you and yours on this holiday season!

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