This Cornish hen recipe is infused with an herb bouquet and fresh citrus, then brushed with a sweet orange marmalade glaze—it’s a delicious, flavorful and beautiful departure from a traditional roasted chicken.
Orange Marmalade Glaze
• 1/2 cup orange marmalade
• 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice
Cornish Hen Ingredients:
• 4 Cornish hens (roughly 1 1/2 lbs. each), rinsed and dried off
• Sea salt
• Freshly cracked black pepper
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems trimmed down
• 16 sprigs fresh thyme (about half a package)
• 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 2 lemons, sliced into 8 thin slices
• 2 small oranges, sliced into 8 thin slices
-Begin by preparing your orange marmalade glaze: add the orange marmalade and the orange juice to a small pot set over medium-low heat, and stir to incorporate; once the mixture comes to the simmer, reduce the heat to low, and allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally.
-Once reduced, strain the mixture into a small bowl, and allow it to cool for about 20-25 minutes (it will also thicken up slightly) before using to glaze the hens.
-To prepare the Cornish hens: preheat oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with foil, and place a wire rack onto the baking sheet.
-Season the Cornish hens by liberally sprinkling salt both inside the cavities and outside the hens (about 1 tablespoon worth total), then sprinkling with freshly cracked black pepper and the Italian seasoning.
-Next, prepare your herb bouquets by dividing the small bunch of flat-leaf parsley into 4 portions; then, add to the parsley about 4 sprigs of the fresh thyme, and 1 sprig of the fresh rosemary, and tie the herb bouquet into a little bundle with some string (I used simple sewing thread), just to help the bouquets to stay together.
-Next, stuff one herb bouquet into the cavity of each hen, and then stuff 2 slices of lemon and 2 slices of orange into each cavity as well.
-Place the hens on the wire rack, breast side up (I chose not to truss my hens, but you can if you prefer), and brush some of the orange marmalade glazes all over each hen, and place into the oven to roast on the lower-middle rack.
-After about 20 minutes, brush some more of the glaze over the hens, and continue to roast; after another 20 minutes, brush the hens with more glaze, and continue to roast for another 20-35 minutes, (depending on the size of the hens), or until the internal temp reads 165° and the juices run clear. (If the skin begins to brown to much, simply cover the hens lightly with some foil lightly sprayed with cooking spray to prevent them from getting too dark.)
-Once roasted, remove the hens from the oven, and allow them to rest for about 10-15 minutes; serve the hens with additional slices of fresh citrus for garnish, if you desire.