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Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Cornish Hens

Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Cornish Hens


Rinse Cornish hens; pat dry with paper towels. Pull neck skin to back, fasten with a short skewer. Tie legs to tail and wings close to body. In a small bowl, combine sugar, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, salt, cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg. Brush hens with oil. Sprinkle with the spice mixture; rub in with your fingers.

Perfect Oven Roasted Baked Cornish Hens Recipe

These oven roasted Cornish hens are so festive and delicious! Perfect crispy spiced golden-brown skin and juicy succulent meat &ndash this is the only recipe for Cornish game hens you&rsquoll ever need!

Cornish game hens are miniature chickens that are perfect for entertaining! There is something about these little game hens that makes them look so much more impressive than the plain regular roast chicken :) Especially when the Cornish hens are perfectly roasted and browned, everybody&rsquos mouth will water when they see them on a platter, so delicious!

Baking Cornish hens in the oven is really easy. All you need to do to make perfectly roasted Cornish hens is rub them with melted butter and spices and bake in the oven for 1 hour at 400F &ndash doesn&rsquot get easier than that!

There are many recipes for baked Cornish hens that make things much more complicated then they need to be. For example, they require you to change the oven temperature throughout the baking process or make you constantly baste the birds with their juices. Basting is way too much work &ndash having to open the oven, take out the Cornish hens, baste them, put them back in &ndash that defeats the whole purpose of the oven being the lazy cooking method. If I&rsquom baking something in the oven, I don&rsquot want to have to deal with it until it&rsquos completely cooked and ready to come out for good!

A great news is that this roasted Cornish hens recipe doesn&rsquot require basting or messing with the oven in any way. Just put the Cornish hens in the oven, set the timer for 1 hour and then when the timer beeps you&rsquoll take out perfectly crispy browned juicy birds! By the way, I also have a really easy roast turkey recipe that doesn&rsquot require basting and makes a perfect turkey every time with virtually zero effort &ndash check out my perfect roasted turkey recipe.

How can you get away without basting the Cornish hens? Easy &ndash just rub them with melted butter before putting them in the oven! Melted butter keeps them moist and also makes the skin brown beautifully!

Another thing that makes these oven roasted Cornish hens so amazing is the homemade spice mix. The Cornish hens are rubbed with a mixture of Italian herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper. There is something about homemade spice mixes that makes them so much more flavorful that ready-made! For another awesome spice mix recipe, check out my homemade taco seasoning recipe &ndash once you try it, you&rsquoll never want to use store-bought!

If you like these easy roasted Cornish hens recipe, you will also love these recipes:

Cranberry Roasted Brussels Sprouts &ndash my favorite way of cooking brussels sprouts, these make a perfect side dish to go with Cornish hens!

Two Roasted Chickens &ndash how to roast two chicken with potatoes at the same time, can use Cornish hens in that recipe instead of chickens!

Rainbow Roasted Vegetables &ndash a platter of colorful roasted vegetables, their presentation is amazing, can roast at the same time as Cornish hens!

Best Ever Roasted Potatoes &ndash the crispiest roasted potatoes, so golden brown and simply perfect!

Pomegranate Fruit Salad &ndash so festive and colorful, perfect for any holiday gatherings!

Recipe Summary

  • 4 large oranges, sliced
  • 2 cups whole pitted dates (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 (1 1/2-pound) Cornish hens
  • Paste:
  • 2 cups cilantro sprigs
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup pimento-stuffed olives
  • Marinade:
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup dry Marsala
  • ¼ cup honey

Arrange orange slices in 2 (13 x 9-inch) baking dishes, and sprinkle evenly with dates.

Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens with cold water pat dry. Remove skin, and trim excess fat. Split hens in half lengthwise. Place hen halves, meaty side up, on top of dates.

Prepare paste: Place cilantro in a food processor pulse 4 times or until coarsely chopped. Add cardamom, cumin, coriander, and garlic, and process until finely chopped. Pat cilantro mixture onto hens arrange olives around hens.

Prepare marinade: Combine vinegar, wine, and honey stir well with a whisk until well-blended. Place in refrigerator for up to two days, if desired.

Slowly pour marinade over hens. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 2 to 24 hours, basting once with the vinegar mixture.

Uncover hens, and bake at 350° for 1 hour and 25 minutes or until juices run clear, basting occassionally with the vinegar mixture. Shield wings with foil, if needed.

North African Cornish Hens

Perhaps the most aromatic cuisine in the world comes from northern Africa, where every dish is a symphony of spices.

Notes These Cornish hens are rubbed with a streamlined version of the Moroccan spice mixrure ras at hanout, marinated, and roasted with lemons and oranges. (Don’t serve the fruit with the chicken--they are there only for flavoring’s sake.)

Occasion Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Course main course

Dietary Consideration diabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Taste and Texture fruity, juicy, spiced, tangy


  • 4 (1½-pound) Cornish game hens
  • 2 lemons , halved
  • 1 orange , quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed through a garlic press
  • 1½ teaspoons salt , preferably coarse (kosher)
  • 2 tablespoons paprika , preferably hot Hungarian
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup olive oil


Using a sharp knife or a cleaver, split each hen down its back and open it up flat, like a book. Arrange the hens, skin side up, on two large roasting pans. Squeeze the lemons and oranges over the hens, and then place the squeezed lemon and orange pieces underneath the hens.

On a work surface, sprinkle the garlic with the salt. Using a large knife, chop and smear them together to form a paste. Scrape the garlic paste into a small bowl, and stir in the paprika, cumin, ginger, and optional cayenne. Gradually stir in the oil to make a paste. Spread the paste on the hens’ skin, and let them stand at room temperature, covered, for 1 hour before roasting.

Position a rack in the top third of the oven, and preheat to 400°.

Roast the hens, basting often with the drippings, until the juices run yellow when the flesh is pierced with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve immediately, discarding the cooked fruits.

Main Course Recipe: Spice-Rubbed Cornish Game Hens

Cornish hens make a wonderful departure from your normal chicken dishes ones of the many reasons we love them is because they make for the perfect individualized meals they present beautifully and are full of flavor and charm! We decided to approach these birds in a pretty simplistic fashion: a little spiced herb rub and some white wine — does it get any easier? If you’re looking for a new dish to try around the holidays, or are just curious about how these flyers compare to other meat (very well, we think!), you should give them a try and see how they spruce up your normal cooking fare — you’ll love them!

Cornish Hens


  • 4 Cornish game hens, giblets removed
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425º F and place oven rack in middle position.
  2. Rinse hens and pat dry with paper towels. Season cavities generously with salt and pepper, then add 1 sprig rosemary in each.
  3. Season outside of hens with salt and pepper.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine paprika, oregano and olive oil, and whisk together.
  5. Place hens in a roasting pan and rub spice mixture all over them. Scatter garlic around hens.
  6. Place in oven and roast for 25 minutes. Pour white wine and chicken broth over the hens, then lower oven temperature to 350º F.
  7. Continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes, or until hens are a deep, golden brown and thickest part of thigh registers as 165º F with a meat thermometer.
  8. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Watch the video: ΣΦΑΓΗ (January 2022).