what to serve with cornish hens

What to Serve with Cornish Hens: 12 Sides for Fancy Dinners

Cornish hens are a chicken variant sought after for their tender meat, large breast, and excellent flavor absorption. They’re usually picked young, so the portion sizes are pretty small. Thus, it’s great for solo or intimate dinners – elegant and just enough for you and a special companion.

For such purposes, it’s not just Cornish hens eaten alone. There’s a side dish or two, and while you can get away with a classic mashed potato, you might want to consider novel ideas about what to serve with cornish hens. Thus, explore this article for 12 side dish recipes you can serve with your fancy Cornish hen dinner.

1. Armenian-Style Rice Pilaf

Rice is an incredible side dish with many entrees, especially flavorful and juicy meats such as Cornish hens. But if you want to elevate it to feel and taste sophisticated, make Armenian-style rice pilaf. It’s savory and buttery; the grains come out fluffy and moist. The rice is cooked with chicken broth, so it’s a terrific match to the taste profile of your Cornish hens.

2. Wild Rice Salad

A combination of chicken and salad is impeccable for those who want to keep their dinner light, simple, and elegant. Wild rice is especially recommended with Cornish hens, so try this wild rice salad! Besides the grains, it has pomegranates, greens, pecans, dried cranberries, green onions, and crumbled feta cheese. With the homemade vinaigrette added to this mix, your dinner stage is set for tonight!

3. Apple Pecan Arugula Salad

The cool flavors of fall are terrific with your Cornish hens, and you can incorporate them into your dinner by serving apple pecan arugula salad. This side dish has everything: fruits, nuts, and greens! The textures and flavors are refreshing, complex, and yet a sensible medley. The homemade dressing is also a blend of sweet and tart flavors courtesy of lemon, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

4. Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Fans of bright colors and flavors would adore this Mediterranean couscous salad with raw squash and feta. It’s incredibly light, delicious, and healthy, with the many delightful shapes and textures that fill the bowl. If the apple pecan arugula salad was fitting for fall, this one is perfect for summer! But even with that said, who’s stopping you from having this any time of day or season?

5. Crunchy Lemon Parmesan Salad

Sometimes the simplest things feel the fanciest, and this crunchy lemon parmesan salad could fill that description. It has Romaine lettuce, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and homemade lemon vinaigrette. All these components render an elegant feel, a light green color palette, crunchy textures, and refreshing flavors. This salad takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and make, so it’s perfect for those running a tight clock for date night.

6. Potatoes au Gratin

There’s a long list of fantastic potato recipes with Cornish hens. Let’s narrow it down to two, including this potatoes au gratin. The name itself would be enough to bring fancy to the table. But of course, this dish has more to offer: decadent, creamy sauce; tender-crisp potato discs; and sharp cheese flavors. Cheddar and gruyere cheeses make au gratin unique and fancier than scalloped potatoes.

7. Thyme Skillet Potatoes

Some people like their potatoes chunky, and let’s give them that with this thyme skillet potatoes. This recipe infuses baby potatoes with the minty, earthy flavors of fresh thyme. Besides that herb, the rest of the seasonings and flavorings are simple: olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper. Such simplicity allows the flavors of the thyme and potato to stand out better and complement the Cornish hens.

8. Butter Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Various roasted vegetables are many people’s go-to choices for fancy side dishes. But while veggies like broccoli and cauliflower would top that list, sweet potatoes wouldn’t come first to anyone’s mind. But such makes these butter-roasted sweet potatoes even more worth the try. The flavor palette of this dish is rich and reminiscent of fall – buttery, earthy, and caramelized – and achieved with only three ingredients.

9. Roasted Acorn Squash

There are many types of squash, and one of the most underrated ones is acorn squash. It looks like a small acorn, so you can halve one to make adequate portions. Although the skin is tantalizing dark green, the flesh is a bright golden yellow. That flesh becomes creamy, sweet, and tender upon roasting, so don’t pass on this effortlessly elegant and unique affair!

10. Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash

Compared to acorn squash, butternut is more popular. The shape is distinct, although that wouldn’t matter in this recipe as the flesh is sliced into chunks. They are then tossed with oil, cinnamon, maple syrup, salt, and pepper, so there’s a bit of flavor complexity. The squash chunks come out of the oven with caramelized, crisp edges, tender flesh, and exquisite flavors that are excellent with Cornish hens.

11. Blistered Haricots Verts

Haricots verts sound sophisticated, like a dish you’d want to bust out for a fancy dinner time. But actually, it’s just French green beans, which have a few subtle but critical differences from regular beans. Haricots verts are longer, thinner, tenderer, and more flavorful, so yes, they’re the ones you’d really want for date night. This recipe improves those qualities with lemon, garlic, and olive oil.

12. Bourbon Glazed Carrots

Glazed carrots are a well-loved, classic side dish; they’re easy and simple, and you’re sure they’re delicious. But this recipe gives our favorite side a tiny twist, or rather, a splash of whiskey, to make things taste and feel even better. Besides the alcohol, there’s butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne, so expect a deep and rich flavor profile. Also, you can opt for small, whole carrots rather than slices.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.