Before starting the hens, I prepare some fingerling potatoes. Cut up the larger ones, then tossed with herbs de provence and olive oil. They can sit in the glass baking dish on the counter and go in the oven with the hens.
2 hens (for us that's one per person; Martha calls for cutting them in half to serve 4)
bunch of thyme
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place hens in a roasting pan, breast sides up. Place 2 thyme sprigs and 1 lemon half in cavity of each hen. Loosen skin from breast, and place remaining thyme and the parsley underneath. Squeeze remaining lemon halves over hens. Rub butter all over hens. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Roast hens, rotating pan halfway through, until skin turns golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees, 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut hens in half lengthwise. Garnish with thyme sprigs, and serve with lemon wedges.
I prepare my hens in the styrofoam tray they come in to keep the lemon juice from getting all over the countertop. Instead of a roasting pan I use a rimmed baking sheet. I use just thyme because we're not huge parsely fans. Martha calls for 3 tablespoons of butter but my hens have been just fine with 1. To keep raw hen juice from getting all over the kitchen I slice the lemons and put them and the thyme and butter on one plate before I start handling the hens.
The potatoes can roast at the same temperature as the hens, so depending on how much you're making and how crispy you like them, put them in the oven for the appropriate amount of time while the hens are in.
This is quite a meat and potatoes meal for us.
*Make sure the hens you get aren't injected with anything containing gluten. Today I used Foster Farms, but I get whatever looks good or is on sale.