Prep 25 mins
Cook 20 mins
This is the perfect entrée for a holiday dinner for two. Complete the meal with sautéed green beans and wild mushrooms and a wild-rice pilaf with chopped fresh parsley and hazelnuts. For dessert? Chocolate mousse topped with rum-spiked whipped cream and chopped crystallized ginger.
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
- 1 1⁄2-1 3⁄4 lbs Cornish hens, halved, backbone removed, rinsed, patted dry
- 1⁄2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1⁄2 cup white grape juice
- 1⁄3 cup frozen cranberry juice concentrate, thawed
- 1⁄4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
- Preheat oven to 450°F Blend 2 tablespoons butter, sugar, and 2 teaspoons thyme in small bowl.
- Sprinkle hen halves with salt and pepper. Spread skin of each with half of butter mixture.
- Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add hen halves, skin side down. Sear until deep brown, about 4 minutes.
- Turn, skin side up, and sear 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Transfer hen halves, skin side up, to small rimmed baking sheet.
- Reserve skillet (mixture will be dark). Roast hen halves until cooked through and juices run clear when pierced with fork, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, blend remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon flour in small bowl.
- Add broth, grape juice, cranberry concentrate, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme to reserved skillet.
- Boil until sauce is reduced to 3/4 cup, whisking often, about 7 minutes.
- Whisk in flour mixture and cranberries. Simmer until sauce coats spoon, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer hen halves to plates.
- Spoon sauce over and serve.
I made this recipe using frozen dark sweet cherries and dried ranier cherries. I left out the brown sugar and the grape juice because they added extra sugar for no purpose. Frying the hen at a low temperature produces a dark brown crisp skin without the added sweetness. Also cooking the backbone and neck from the hen with chicken broth to use in the sauce gives a much more concentrated flavor. I used a little bit of shallot in the pan to make the sauce. This was a good idea and an excellent recipe.
This was a perfect Thanksgiving entree, as it was just my hubby and me this year. Great mix of sweet and tart as previous reviews have mentioned. Thanks for sharing!
Very tasty recipe. Will definitely make this again. DH says that there is a bit of room for improvement (maybe some wine in the sauce replacing some of the chicken broth?!).