This recipe can be prepared using small chickens, called poussins, although the individual hens make a beautiful and unique presentation.
1/3 cup red wine or raspberry or balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup seedless, juice-sweetened raspberry preserves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange or tangerine juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grainy-style Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced orange rind
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Four 1- to 1-1/2-pound Rock Cornish game hens, split
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sprigs of fresh thyme, raspberries, and orange slices
1. Bring the marinade ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the raspberry preserves have dissolved. Allow the marinade to cool slightly.
2. Wash and dry the hens, turn them backbone up, and cut through the backbones only. Flatten out the birds with the palm of your hand and sprinkle each with salt and pepper.
3. Place the hens in a shallow nonreactive dish and pour the marinade over, coating on all sides. Allow the hens to marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for about 3 to 4 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Lightly coat the bottom of a roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray.
5. Remove the hens from the marinade and place them in the prepared pan skin-side down. Spread the hens liberally with the marinade and roast them for 15 minutes. Turn, baste the hens with the remaining marinade, and continue to roast for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until well browned and cooked through.
6. Remove the cooked hens to a warm platter, strain the sauce into a pitcher, and remove any accumulated fat. Serve the hens hot with the sauce on the side, garnished with sprigs of thyme, raspberries, and orange slices.
Strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, apricot, or peach preserves can be substituted for the raspberry.
Rock Cornish game hens were developed in America in the nineteenth century by crossing a Cornish game cock with a White Plymouth Rock chicken. These hens usually weigh between 1 and 2 pounds and are low in fat. Rock Cornish game hens are generally sold frozen although they are beginning to appear fresh in many markets.
The marinade can be prepared 1 to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in a covered container until ready to use.
Entertaining Light & Easy
By Laurie Burrows Grad
Simon & Schuster, 1998
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created January 2000
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