Cookbook Profile

Roasted Cornish Game Hens
with Orange Sauce

Serves 6


Tiny Cornish game hens make an elegant meal, and marinating them in a lively mixture of oranges, garlic and Madeira gives them an intense, fresh flavor.


Cornish Game Hens:

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

Orange Sauce:

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 450 degrees F.

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 3500F. 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.


Sunday Dinner
Seasonal Menus to Enjoy with Family and Friends
By Barbara Scott-Goodman with Mary Goodbody
Chronicle Books
Hardback $ 16.95
ISBN: 0-8118-178-3
Recipe Reprinted by permission.


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This page created December 1998