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~ Easy Cornish Hen Glazed w/Arby's Original Sauce ~

IMG_6627Arby's Original Sauce.  Their unique blend of ingredients creates a sweet, tangy, and spicy ketchup-based barbecue-type sauce that gives all of their beef and chicken sandwiches extra special appeal.  In my opinion, whether you're a fan of their sandwiches or not, their barbecue sauce is addictive.  It's so addicting, most customers enjoy the guilty pleasure of pocketing a few packets of this lip-smacking sauce on our way out their door -- and there's not shame in that. That said, I bring tidings of great joy -- they've started selling it and their Horsey Sauce online!  

6a0120a8551282970b02af1c965a6e200d-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).

6a0120a8551282970b02af148b0f79200c-320wiDespite 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.

Two ingredients + a side-dish or two = A fab feast a la Arby's:

IMG_65361-2 Cornish game hens, thawed and at room temperature

1/4-1/2  cup Arby's Original Barbecue Sauce

6a0120a8551282970b02af148b101c200c-120wi 6a0120a8551282970b02af14aca808200b-120wi 6a0120a8551282970b02af14aca80a200b-120wi 6a0120a8551282970b02af148b1029200c-120wi 6a0120a8551282970b02af148b102d200c-120wi~Step 1. Remove hen(s) (cook as many as you want) from packaging and on a rack in a shallow roasting pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.  Bend/twist/fold (whatever word you want to use) the wing tips down and underneath the hen(s) -- this will prevent burning.  Do not be inclined to season the hen(s) with salt and pepper as Arby's sauce is nicely seasoned -- it's perfect. Roast hen(s) on center rack of 375º oven for 45 minutes.

IMG_6591 IMG_6591 IMG_6597 IMG_6598~Step 2.  At the 45 minute mark, remove hen(s) from oven.  Working as quickly as possible, use a pastry brush to paint the entire surface of the hen(s) with Arby's sauce.  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 5-10 minutes prior to serving -- residual heat will finish-cook the hen(s) and allow juices to redistribute.

Serve w/your favorite side(s) -- try my spicy rice & cornbread:

IMG_6624Easy Cornish Hen Glazed w/Arby's Original Sauce: 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

6a0120a8551282970b02af148b106c200cCook'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 2023)


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