July 23, 2024
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Cornish hen is a variety of broiler chicken produced from a cross between a Cornish hen and a White Plymouth Rock hen. The name is actually incorrect because there are both males and females. They weigh approximately 2 to 2.5 pounds, are slaughtered between four and six weeks of age and are known for their tender meat, which absorbs spices and marinades easily.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens

4 servings

This is one of my favorite dishes to make, and when I saw this on the Food & Wine website, it gave me the idea to do a column. John Somerall is a chef, recipe tester and developer in Alabama. I made a few changes for the recipe to be kosher.

  • 5 medium lemons
  • ¼ cup chopped rosemary plus 10 4-inch sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme plus 10 40-inch sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 20 smashed garlic cloves
  • 2 Cornish hens
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons pareve margarine

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease a roasting pan.

2. Squeeze 1 lemon to 2 tablespoons of juice, then cut lemon in 6 wedges, and cut 3 lemons in half crosswise.

3. Place lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, oil, salt, pepper and garlic cloves in a food processor. Process 2 minutes until garlic is finely chopped. Rub over and inside Cornish hens. Fill the insides of each with half of garlic mixture and 3 lemon wedges. Truss legs together and wings to breasts.

4. Arrange rosemary and thyme sprigs in a roasting pan. Place hens on top.

5. Cover the pan with foil and roast for 25 minutes.

6. Remove foil, add broth and roast for 25-35 minutes.

7. Pour garlic-herb-lemons into a saucepan with hen juices. Add margarine, season with salt.

To serve, cut each hen in half lengthwise, serve with roasted lemon halves and sauce.

Cornish Hens a l’Orange

4 servings

This is my recipe with no source, but by the looks of it, I used to make it often.

  • 2 Cornish hens, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces long grain wild rice
  • 3 ounces mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon shredded orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons julienne strips orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoons orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 teaspoons brandy

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.  Grease a roasting pan.

2. Combine rice, mushrooms, ½ teaspoon shredded peel. Place in two mounds on a roasting pan. Place hens, cut side down over stuffing and roast for 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine orange peel, covered in water for 15 minutes, then drain.

4. Combine brown sugar and cornstarch with 6 tablespoons of water, shredded orange peel, orange juice and bouillon granules in a saucepan. Cook until thick. Stir in orange strips and brandy.

5. Transfer hens and stuffing to a platter and spoon over sauce.


Sybil Kaplan is a Jerusalem-based journalist, author and compiler/editor of nine kosher cookbooks. She is a food writer for North American Jewish publications, and she leads walks of the Jewish food market, Machaneh Yehudah, in English.

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