Cornish Hens and Parmesan Polenta with Fennel and Arugula
Cornish Hens and Parmesan Polenta with Fennel and Arugula
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Derek Laughren

Looking to really impress your dinner guests? Serve these tender Cornish hens over a fluffy bed of cheesy, creamy Parmesan polenta. Oh, and did we mention this is made using only one skillet? Dinner is served.

Makes 4 servings

Cornish Hens

2 Cornish hens, quartered

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1 sweet onion, diced

1 bulb fennel, diced, fronds reserved for garnishing

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup instant polenta

4 ounces arugula

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

1. MAKE THE CORNISH HENS: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Season the Cornish hens with salt and pepper. In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the hens, skin side down, and sear until the skin is golden and crispy, about 4 minutes.

2. Flip the hens skin side up and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the hen reaches 180°F, 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Remove the hens from the oven, transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil.

4. MAKE THE POLENTA: Add the onion and fennel to the skillet and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

5. Stir the polenta into the skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.

6. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the arugula, Parmesan and butter. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Top the polenta with the Cornish hens and garnish with the reserved fennel fronds. Serve with lemon wedges.

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