Genius, Panini-Pressed Cornish Game Hen (Spinach Optional) - By Bonnie Banters

Adapted from Alton Brown as seen on ABC GMA

Serves 2


  • 1 Cornish game hen, approx. 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 lbs.
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt for the hen + a sprinkle of table salt for the spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper + a sprinkle for the spinach
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • All-purpose, non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/ea. 9 oz. bag baby spinach (optional)*


  1. Preheat a panini press on high.*
  2. Wash and pat the hen dry.
  3. Working on a cutting board, use poultry shears or a very sharp knife (I love my surgery shears!) to cut down the center of the top of the bird along the breastbone.  Open up the hen like a book and place body up on the cutting board.  Give the bird a good smack in the middle with your hands to press it as flat as possible.  To remove the backbone, cut along both sides of it from the neck to the tailbone. You can discard the backbone or save it for use in a soup stock.
  4. Sprinkle both sides of the hen with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Spray the bottom of the panini press with the non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Place the bird skin side up on the press. (I cook half a bird at a can keep it warm while you cook the other half.)  *Spray the hen with the non-stick cooking spray and close the lid.  (Don't forget to place a drip pan under the press to catch the juices.)
  7. Place about a 4-lb. weight on the press and cook for about 10 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. (I use an iron skillet as a weight.)
  8. Remove the hen from the press and let it rest for about 3 minutes before serving.

©Bonnie Banters™.  All rights reserved.

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For each serving:

While the hen is resting, toss half the bag of spinach onto the panini and sprinkle with a little table salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Close the lid to the press and cook about 30-45 seconds.  The spinach will soak up the hen's juices and be very flavorful!

Immediately place the spinach on an individual serving plate and top with a Cornish hen half!  Presto...a quick, lovely, delicious and impressive dinner with practically no effort!

*Tips:  I haven't tried it; but if you don't have a panini press, a similar grill such as a George Foreman may work.  In his TV presentation, Alton said most any green salad mix would work in this recipe; but, here again, I have not tried that.  He also suggested brushing the hen with olive oil right before closing the lid: I used the cooking spray here, as offered in the printed recipe, and it worked fine...I haven't tried the olive oil yet.

Enjoy this after a busy day when you're tired and hungry!  Better yet, impress your loved one with this delicious dinner on date night and be prepared for lots of hugs and kisses!

©Bonnie Banters™.  All rights reserved.

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