Tender Cornish hens make for an elegant presentation on the dinner plate, plus they roast up much faster than a whole chicken. These ones are marinated in orange juice, garlic and fresh sage for a slightly sticky and utterly scrumptious glaze. Note that the recipe calls for an hour-long marinade for the birds, so be sure to factor that into your schedule.
Course Main Dishes
Prep Time 10minutes
Cook Time 55minutes
Total Time 1hour5minutes
2fresh Cornish Game hens
1small bunchfresh sage
Salt and pepper
Using poultry shears or a sharp knife, cut the backbone out of the hens, starting at the neck and working down toward the tail. Turn the hen skin-side-up and press down on the breast bone to flatten the hen.
Thinly slice the garlic, juice one blood orange, and pluck about 10 pieces of fresh sage from their stems. Prepare the marinade in a small bowl by combining sliced garlic, orange juice, sage leaves and olive oil together.
Place the hens in a casserole pan or other low shallow pan large enough to fit the two flattened hens. Pour the marinade over, coating the birds on both sides.
Slice the remaining blood orange in half-moons, and tuck those around and under the hens.
Allow to marinade at room temperature for an hour or up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Season hens with salt and pepper and place in the oven. Roast for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375F. Cook for another 40 minutes, then check for doneness. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-15 minutes.
Serve in the pan or on a platter. Cut Cornish game hens down the middle and serve a breast and a leg to each guest.