The game hen, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes all get cooked in the same pan. About the only thing missing from the pan is cranberry sauce and rolls. This recipe will definitely make Thanksgiving dinner easy and delicious. Who needs turkey?
You will need to use at least a 12-inch cast-iron skillet for this recipe.
Refrigerating the chicken, with the coating of salt, dries out the skin a bit making it more crunchy when you roast it.
You could use a small, 3-4 pound chicken for this recipe instead of the Cornish game hens. If using chicken, you will have to cut the skin (between the legs) before dis-jointing them.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees with cast-iron skillet in the oven while it’s pre-heating.
This step is optional: Place the hens on a large plate and coat skin with the 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt. Place into the refrigerator, uncovered, and leave there for 1 hour. Prior to cooking, remove chickens from refrigerator and thoroughly rinse with water and pat dry. If you don’t do this step, only use 1/2 tablespoon of salt and sprinkle all over hens and set aside. (No rinsing required.)
Regardless of which way you salt the birds, you need to flatten the legs on them. Gently pull the legs away from the body so that they become dis-jointed and lie flat on either side of the body.
Next, rub 1/2 tablespoon olive oil all over each hen, followed by 1 tablespoon of the herbs onto and inside of each hen and sprinkle the tops with the pepper. Cut the lemon in half again and place 1 piece of lemon inside each of the hens.
Pierce the potatoes with a fork, toss them into a bowl with about 1/2 inch of water, and cook for 2 minutes on high in the microwave.
Remove the pan from the oven and drop bacon pieces onto 1/2 of the pan. Place the chickens into the other half of the pan, breast side up. Make sure to place the legs and thighs flat against the bottom of the pan. Put the skillet back into the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and add the potatoes and garlic slices over 1/2 of the bacon pieces and the Brussels sprouts over the other half of the bacon pieces. Toss the potatoes and Brussel sprouts with the bacon pieces to coat them in some of the fat. Cook for 20 minutes longer or until the juices from the legs and thighs run clear when pierced.