Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pan-Roasted Game Hens with Pearl Onions

Pan-roasting game hens is a simple way to bring both flavor and visual appeal to the dinner table. A fresh, floral herb rub and sweet, caramelized pearl onions are tasty complements to these little birds that cook up in about an hour. But, first, give them a couple hours to rest in the refrigerator before roasting—chilling helps dry and tighten the skin for a crispier finish.

Note: Pearl onions are deliciously sweet and tender, but they can be a pain to peel. To remedy that, simply blanch them in boiling water about two minutes, then slip off the skins when they’re cool enough to handle.

Gold Pearl Onions 
Blanch the Onions before Peeling
Blanched Pearl Onions
Peeled Pearl Onions
Serves 4

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 game hens, giblets removed
  • 16 gold or white pearl onions, blanched in boiling water and peeled
Herbs and Garlic
  1. Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and chives in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Rinse the hens thoroughly and pat dry. Using kitchen shears, remove the tail and any excess skin and fat.
  3. Lay the hens breast-side down on a work surface. Cut along each side of the backbones and remove them. Cut through the center of the breastbones to divide each hen in half.
  4. Place a wire rack in a large, rimmed baking sheet and place the hen halves on it. Loosen the skin on the hens and rub the herb mixture over the meat. Use any leftover to rub on the outside. Refrigerate 1 hour. 
Trimmed Hen 
Cut Along the Backbone 
Cut Through the Breastbone
Ready to Marinate
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Heat a large (at least 15-inch) ovenproof skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.
  3. Season the hens with salt and pepper and place skin-side down in the skillet. Cook, without turning, until the skin begins to brown, 5 minutes.
  4. Place the skillet in the oven and roast the hens 20 minutes.
  5. Turn the hens skin-side up and scatter the pearl onions around them. Roast until the skin is golden brown and the hens are cooked through, 20-25 minutes longer. 
Hens Beginning to Sear
Pearl Onions Added
Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Pan-Roasted Game Hens with Pearl Onions


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    1. Thanks so much --- I appreciate your comments. (And love those cornish hens! :)