Cornish Hens Braised in the Style of Osso Buco

Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

The flavorings of osso buco, the Milanese dish of veal shanks braised in tomatoes, wine, broth, vegetables, and herbs, are used to cook Cornish hens. Prepared this way, half a Cornish hen will be enough for each person, along with polenta, potatoes, rice, or a small pasta. Moisten everything with the aromatic braising liquid.


  • 2 Cornish hens, split in half, well trimmed with wing tips and tails discarded, rinsed and patted dry (about pounds each)
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 small rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, bruised
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (14½ ounces) Italian-style plum tomatoes, with juice, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium canned chicken broth, fat skimmed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 recipe Orange Gremolata


    1. Select a large wide Dutch oven or other stovetop-to-oven pot, preferably nonstick. Season the hens with salt and pepper. Brown the hens on both sides over medium heat, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the hens to a platter and wipe the fat from the pot with paper towels.
    2. Heat the oven to 350°F.
    3. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pan. Cover and cook the vegetables over medium-low heat until tender, stirring once or twice, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Boil the wine over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, and bay leaf.
    4. Return the hens to the pan, spooning the tomatoes and vegetables over them. Cover and cook in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the hens are tender when you poke a thigh with a knife blade or fork. Transfer hens to a deep platter and set aside, loosely covered with foil to keep warm. Blot any fat from the cooking liquid with a folded paper towel and correct the seasonings.
    5. Sprinkle the hens with gremolata and serve at once.