An appeal came my way for a dish I had not prepared in years and when the request came, I had to ask, “Do you remember it being good” which sent me wondering how I had cooked my last Cornish hens. So, I searched my memory banks for ways to prepare the hens and the best presentation for the palate. It was a short trip.
That’s when I decided to start anew and do it the way my taste buds would lead. With two cookbooks in the works, I am inclined to fit it into one or the other: Bayou/Creole or Western/Mexican. The latter won out much too easily and besides, it seems to be a perfect marriage between these two little birds. I think a little addition of spice stimulates things up a bit and pares nicely with the sweet suggestion of the glaze in seducing these succulent hens. What do you think?
Roasted Garlic Lime Cornish Hens with Orange Glaze
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
2 – 1 1/2 pound Cornish game hens, thawed & patted dry
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup orange Marmalade
2 tablespoons dry Sherry
Pinch of cinnamon
2 thin orange slices, optional
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, cilantro, lime zest, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and half of the melted butter.
Loosen the skin along the breast section on each hen with your fingers. Spoon about half of the garlic mixture under the skin and distribute evenly. Tie the legs together with twine and place in a small roaster. Brush remaining butter over the hens and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.
Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Add the broth and baste every 10 minutes for another 30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 170 degrees F.
While the hens are roasting, mix the glaze ingredients together in a small saucepan and simmer until thick. Turn off heat.
Brush the glaze over the hens the last 10 minutes topping each with the orange slice for garnishment.
Transfer the hens to a serving platter and let stand for 10 minutes before plating. Serve with a western style rice or pilaf, if desired.