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sage-roasted cornish game hens with creamy garlic

Makes 6 hens

This dish is at once homey and impressive. Your guests will think you went to a lot of trouble, but in fact, it’s very easy to prepare. Toss in the garlic cloves 15–20 minutes before the hens are finished and you’ll have a creamy roasted-garlic-clove garnish that guests can mash and spread on their bread or enjoy with the meat.

  • 6 Cornish game hens (11⁄2–2 pounds each)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 fresh sage leaves, stems removed
  • 12 slices bacon
  • 12 cloves garlic, unpeeled

Preheat oven to 350°F. Season the Cornish game hens with salt and pepper on both sides, and place them, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. Truss the legs with kitchen twine, and tuck the wings behind the breasts.

Drizzle the melted butter or olive oil over the birds, and place four sage leaves on each bird, one on each breast and leg.

Next, wrap two slices of bacon around each hen, covering the sage, and stretch the bacon strips to secure them under the bird.

Roast for 45 minutes. Then add the unpeeled garlic cloves to the roasting pan, and cook the hens and the garlic for 15–20 more minutes, until done. Serve each hen with two garlic cloves.

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