Cornish hens are great because you can do something different with each of them so that everyone is happy! The only person I know who doesn't like a Cornish Hen is my dad-- he thinks they're "too much work" and "way too messy". We won't be serving these when he comes to visit, but otherwise this recipe was a huge hit!
The meat was so moist and infused with a hint of citrus. This was due to the "stuffing"-- instead of edible stuffing, I packed the cavity with a 1/4 of a navel orange. It helped keep everything moist and succulent. We served this dish with my Potato Kugel. It was the perfect side along with a simple salad.
- 2 to 4 Cornish Game Hens, defrosted (each hen serves 1 to 2 people)
- kosher salt
- 1 large navel orange
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the hens by removing the giblet bag (if included) and rinse the hens with water. Lightly salt the inside cavity with kosher salt. Cut the orange in quarters, (do not peel) and insert the entire quarter inside of the cavity where you'd normally place stuffing. Place the hens, breast side up, in a roasting pan and cover. Cook for 1 hour.
Right before the 1 hour of roasting is up, combine the apricot preserves, soy sauce, mustard, and honey in a small bowl. Remove the hens from the oven and uncover. Generously brush/spoon the glaze over the hens making sure to coat the entire surface. Place hens back in the oven, uncovered, for an additional 10-15 minutes or until they are fully cooked. When done, remove from oven and allow them to rest for 5 minutes. Remove the orange from the cavity and discard. Serve whole or cut hens in half down the middle.
As you can see, I didn't tie the legs or wings back. I made this meal for immediate family, so I didn't feel the need to be "fancy" with anything. In fact, I didn't even think to take pictures until after we started eating. What's wrong with me, I know! I'm so happy that I did because I'm excited to share this meal. My family loved it, and I know yours will, too. What a simple and impressive meal for the holidays.