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Sunday Dinner: Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Orange Sauce


One of the first roasts I really enjoyed making was a recipe for Cornish game hens. The tiny little hens always make for a delicious simple, yet elegant meal. For this week's Sunday Dinner, I thought it would be nice to find a good Cornish hen recipe for everyone to try. So I dug up this one for Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Orange Sauce. The best part of roasting Cornish game hens is that, due to their dainty size, people are easily impressed by the simple elegance. This particular recipe uses Madeira (a sweet, fortified wine similar to sherry), but if you can't find it replace with Marsala wine, dry vermouth, sherry or stock. For the deceptively-elegant recipe, read more


Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Orange Sauce
From Sunday Dinner Seasonal Menus to Enjoy with Family and Friends
By Barbara Scott-Goodman with Mary Goodbody

Serves 6

6 Cornish game hens, halved along the breastbone
(approximately 1-1/2 pounds each)
Juice of 1 large orange
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
I small onion, chopped
1/4 cup Madeira
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Zest of one orange, coarsely chopped into 1/2 inch-long pieces

2 tablespoons Madeira
2 tablespoons chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1. To prepare the hens, rinse the halves tinder cold running water and put them in a large glass or ceramic baking dish.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, oil, garlic, onion and Madeira, season to taste with salt and pepper and whisk well. Stir in the zest and then pour the marinade over the hens. Toss gently to coat, cover and refrigerate for at least S hours or overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 450F.

4. Transfer the game hens and the marinade to a large roasting pan and arrange in a single layer, skin side up. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F. baste and continue roasting for about 45 minutes or until the juices in the thighs run clear.

5. Remove the hens from the roasting pan and arrange on a large platter. Cover with aluminum foil and set aside to keep warm.

6. To prepare the sauce, strain the pan juices into a saucepan. Add the Madeira, stock, sugar and vinegar and stir well. Bring to a boil over high beat, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened and the flavors blend. Stir well to combine. Bring to a slow boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the hens and serve.

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