Cornish Game Hens With Kumquats and Orange Liqueur Sauce

READY IN: 3hrs




  • Preheat oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Remove tarragon leaves from the stems; place aside. Wash and dry kumquats; slice in half and remove all seeds; place aside. Crush, dice, or press the garlic cloves; place aside. Rinse game hens with cold water and pat dry.
  • Separate the skin from the game hen’s breast. Push in the tarragon leaves and crushed garlic under the skin; the skin protects the leaves and garlic from burning. Place tarragon stems inside the hen’s cavity, along with about 35-40 seeded kumquats.
  • Place game hens on a raised rack in a roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan to prevent the juices from burning. Cook for about one and ½ hours at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Baste frequently and replenish the water in the pan as needed.
  • Optional: Place giblets in a saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium heat until done, about 1 hour. Remove and allow to cool. Chop and set aside.
  • Coarsely chop the remaining 10 to 15 kumquats. In a sauce pan, combine the orange juice, sugar, and kumquats. Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir frequently and cook until done, about 30 to 45 minutes. Set aside.
  • Remove the game hens from the oven after 90 minutes or when golden brown and done. Transfer the game hens to a serving platter. Remove and discard the tarragon stems. Reserve the cooked kumquats and decoratively place around the hens.
  • Deglaze the roasting pan and transfer the drippings to a saucepan. Carefully add the flour to make a roué. Add chicken broth and cook over medium heat until the gravy is thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add giblets (optional).
  • Combine the orange liqueur with orange juice/kumquat sauce and add to gravy. Simmer another 5 minutes. Transfer to gravy boat.
  • Carve game hens and serve each portion with gravy and kumquats.