You can find 1000+ of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch nearly 100 of my Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. Have fun!


~ Easy Cranberry-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen ~

IMG_6224With the Thanksgiving holiday just a few short days away, if you or someone you know is in search of an easy-yet-elegant alternative to roasting a large, cumbersome turkey,  you really should consider the Cornish game hen. Once cooked, the Cornish hen is known for its tender meat which loves to absorb flavors from creative marinades or spice rubs -- and my super-easy, sweet-and-savory cranberry glaze is perfect for both the Thanksgiving or Christmas festivities.. 

6a0120a8551282970b02af148657e5200c-320wiThe Cornish game hen, also known as the Rock Cornish game hen, is the USDA's approved name for a particular variety of  broiler chicken. Connecticut farmers Jacques and Alphonsine Makowsky cross-bred the standard Cornish chicken with a White Plymouth Rock hen and a Malayan fighting cock in the 1950s. They were bred to mature quickly and develop a large breast and weigh no 2 pounds max uncooked (with the most common weight  about 1 1/4 pounds).

Istockphoto-606234472-612x612Despite the "game hen" in the name, the Cornish hen is not a game bird.  While the "hen" in the name implies a female bird, males and females are sold and served as Cornish hens, meaning, many aren't hens.  Once cooked, the Cornish hen is known for its tender meat which loves to absorb flavors from creative marinades or spice rubs.

The pianist and comedian, Victor Borge was an early investor and promoter of this single-serving bird, leveraging his popularity to transition the Cornish hen from an exotic item to a common household meal who's petite size and young age give it a unique flavor and succulent texture that bigger chickens simply do not have.  That said, it's as versatile as a regular-sized chicken, so, any recipe for any chicken is easily adapted to the mini-chicken (which will cook more quickly, in approximately 1 hour depending on the recipe ).  The small size also makes it easier to achieve a crispy skin with perfectly-cooked meat simultaneously with no real need for basting.

Quick-&-Easy to Roast, Elegant to Eat -- Elegantly Easy:

IMG_62011-2 Cornish game hens, thawed and at room temperature

1/2  can jellied cranberry sauce

4  tablespoons salted butter

15-20  freshly-ground sea salt

20-25  grinds freshly-ground peppercorn blend

IMG_6200 IMG_6200 IMG_6200 IMG_6200~Step 1.  Remove hen(s) (cook as many as you want) from packaging.  Place hen or hens on a rack in a shallow roasting pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.  Season hen(s) with freshly-ground sea salt and peppercorn blend.  Roast on center rack of 400°-425° oven for 45 minutes.

IMG_6210 IMG_6210 IMG_6210 IMG_6210~Step 2.  While the hen is roasting for the the 45 minutes, in a small saucepan, place the cranberry sauce, butter, salt and pepper.  Over low heat, and stirring constantly, melt the butter into the melting cranberry sauce, about 2-3 minutes.  When smooth, remove from heat.  At the 45 minute mark, remove the hen(s) from the oven.  Working as quickly as possible, use a pastry brush to paint the entire surface of the hen(s).  Return to oven and continue to roast 5 more minutes.  Repeat the basting process every 5 minutes until an instant-read meat thermometer, inserted into the thickert breast meat, reads 150°-155°, about 15-20 more minutes.   Remove glazed hens from oven, loosely tent with foil and allow to rest about 5-10 minutes prior to serving -- residual heat will finish-cook the chicken and allow the juices to redistribute.

Plate & serve w/your favorite selection of sides:

IMG_6229Easy Cranberry-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen:  Recipe yields instruction to roast and glaze as many Cornish game hens as you want to.

Special Equipment List:  appropriately-sized roasting pan; aluminum foil; roasting rack; small saucepan; pastry brush; intant-read meat thermometer

IMG_6241Cook's Note: Whether you are new to cooking and looking for something easy yet elegant to impress a small group of people with or a seasoned-pro looking for something easy yet elegant to impress a few quests with, you really should consider Cornish game hens.  There's more.  If you are a hungry single person in search of an easy, made-from-scratch entree, you really should consider a Cornish game hen. When I was a young chick (a new bride about 45 years ago), Cornish game hens were trendy and commonly served -- everyone, kids and adults alike, loves a succulent, personal-sized mini-chicken.  I served them frequently for years, and then, for reasons unknown to me, I kinda forgot about them.  No time like the present to correct my course. Be sure to read my post: ~ Elegantly Easy -- The Roasted Rock Cornish Game Hen ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment