Savory Cornish Hens With a Brandy Currant Glaze

"My favorite ... Cornish Hens. I think they are so under appreciated. Sweet succulent, individual "MINI" chickens. Well you know what I mean. These have great flavor and simple to make. Less time than a chicken, twice the WOW impact for dinner parties and just so good. You can serve 1/2 portions or whole chickens to each person. Serve this with some citrus wild rice and I love some roasted cauliflower or roasted brussels sprouts."
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Ready In:
2 Whole Hens


  • 2 Cornish hens (1 3/4-2 lbs each)
  • 1 large onion, cut in thick slices (I use these as a natural rack for the hens to sit on in the pan)
  • Filling

  • 1 medium onion, cut in quarters
  • 1 orange, cut in quarters
  • 13 cup parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, for the filling
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, for the filling
  • 14 cup butter (1/8 cup for the filling, 1/8 cup for the skin)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, for the skin
  • 12 teaspoon black pepper, for the skin
  • Glaze

  • 34 cup red currant jelly
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 12 cup brandy (Just pick up one of those little airplane bottles, they work fine if you don't keep brandy in the ho)
  • Sauce

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 12 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)


  • Prepare the Hens -- Just rinse them well, inside and out, drain and pat try. Then add 1/4 cup butter, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl and melt the butter in the microwave for just a few seconds. Add in the oranges and onion quarters and toss well.
  • Stuffing -- Add the orange, onion, butter and herb mix to the cavity of the hens.
  • Skin -- Brush each of the hens with 1/4 cup of butter (not melted) and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake -- Place each of the hens on a couple of the onions slices in a small oven proof pan. The onion slices just make a natural baking rack so they don't sit directly on the pan itself. Bake at 425 for 10 minute and then reduce to 350 for about 20-30 minutes uncovered. NOTE: One reviewer wrote they were swimming in butter, but if you bake the hens on the onions used as a rack as suggested, they are not sitting in butter. The butter flavors the inside and outside, and remember, it is for 2 nice size birds. Also, the onions will absorb most of the butter and the natural juices will end up in the sauce at the end.
  • NOTE: I used around a 1 3/4 - 2 1/2 lb hen, and then can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. So just check and have your meat thermometer handy. This is one time when it really helps. I take mine out at 160, as it continues to cook once removed. The last time I cooked 4 for dinner they took 40 minutes. But just check to be sure.
  • Glaze -- As the hens back, in a small measuring cup add the garlic, brandy and jelly and just heat until melted. You can also do this on the stove, but the microwave is easier, quicker and just a small cup to clean out vs another pot. Baste frequently with the glaze as the chicken cook.
  • Sauce -- No I love the sauce for this but it is optional. Remove the chickens to a plate and cover with foil to let them rest. Bring the pan to the stove on medium heat and add the wine to deglaze. Get all the good dripping off the bottom of the pan. Add the broth and cook 3-4 minutes. Right before serving, just add the butter to thicken the sauce and serve with the chicken. This isn't a thick gravy, just a nice light sauce over the chicken.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I just love pousins and fix them regular so I was excited to see a diferent recipe,but...I was disapointed,I did not like the sauce for one and and there was so much butter,those little birdies are just swimming in it. But thank you for sharing the recipe.
  2. I always serve Cornish hen for easter.. I tried this and it was even better than my grandmother's! (that's alot because she's the best cook I know)


<p>Growing up in Michigan, I spent my summers at my cottage in the Northern part up by Traverscity. On a lake, big garden which had all the vegetables you could imagine. My mom taught school, so summers were our vacation time. Gramps and I fished all the time so fresh fish was always on the menu, perch, blue gill, walleye and small and large mouth bass. At age 5 I learned how to clean my own fish and by 10 I was making dinner, canning vegetables and fruits, making pies and fresh breads. Apples fresh picked every fall, strawberries in June and July, Cherries at the Cherry Festival in Traverscity. So fresh foods always were a big part. Mom worked as a teacher during the year so dinner was more traditional with pot roasts, meatloaf, etc, but it seemed we always had fresh fruits and vegetables as part of the meal. Mom also didn't use as many spices as I do, but times were different back then. <br /> <br />So ... My motto is ... There is NO Right and NO Wrong with cooking. So many people thing they have to follow a recipe. But NO ... a recipe is a method and directions to help and teach someone. Cooking is about personal tastes and flavors. I love garlic ... and another person may not. I like heat ... but you may not. Recipes are building blocks, NOT text ground in stone. Use them to make and build on. Even my recipes I don't follow most times --They are a base. That is what cooking is to me. A base of layer upon layer of flavors. <br /> <br />I still dislike using canned soups or packaged gravies/seasoning ... but I admit, I do use them. I have a few recipes that use them. But I try to strive to teach people to use fresh ingredients, they are first ... so much healthier for you ... and second, in the end less expensive. But we all have our moments including me. <br /> <br />So, lets see ... In the past, I have worked as a hostess, bartender, waitress, then a short order cook, salad girl in the kitchen, sort of assistant chef, head chef, co owner of a restaurant ... now a consultant to a catering company/restaurant, I cater myself and I'm a personal chef for a elderly lady. I work doing data entry during the day, and now and then try to have fun which is not very often due to my job(s). <br /> <br />I have a 21 year old who at times is going on 12, aren't they all. Was married and now single and just trying to enjoy life one day at a time. I'm writing a cookbook ... name is still in the works but it is dedicated to those people who never learned, to cook. Single Moms, Dads, or Just Busy Parents. Those individuals that think you can't make a great dinner for not a lot of money. You can entertain on a budget and I want people to know that gourmet tasting food doesn't have to be from a can of soup or a box, and healthy food doesn't come from a drive through. There are some really good meals that people can make which are healthy and will save money but taste amazing. So I guess that is my current goal. We all take short cuts and I have no problem with that - I do it too. I volunteer and make food for the homeless every couple of months, donating my time and money. I usually make soup for them and many times get donations from a local grocery stores, Sams Club, Walmart etc, with broth, and vegetables. It makes my cost very little and well worth every minute I spend. Like anyone, life is always trying to figure things out and do the best we can and have fun some how along the way.</p>
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