I go through phases of using recipes and then just cooking on my own. Having picked up a cornish game hen for a change rather than chicken (I love chicken, but sometimes, it can feel just blah), I wanted to do something more interesting than just salt, pepper, and olive oil. I found this recipe on epicurious.com called Grandma's Roasted Cornish Game Hens. It looked easy and I had all the marinating ingredients, minus the ginger. It turned out fantastically. Moorish, savory, a little sweetness, juicy, tender - just how you want a little bird.
- 1 (1 lb) Cornish game hens, halved lengthwise and backs removed
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chardonnay or white-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and put rack in the center. Wash the game hen with cold water, pat dry, and generously season with salt. In a bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, honey. I used a tablespoon of honey instead of the recommended teaspoon for a little extra sweetness. The final dish was still well balanced and not sweet at all. Marinate hens in the mixture in a sealed bag for 15 minutes - the recipe called for chilling, but I just let the bird marinate on the counter. I don't believe in putting a cold bird directly in a hot oven.
Transfer the hen to a small roasting pan with the skin side up, including the marinade. Every 10 minutes, remove from the oven and baste with the juices. After about 25 to 30 minutes, the juices were completely reduced. I removed the hen from the roasting pan, let it rest on the cutting board, and de-glazed the roasting pan with a little white wine. I cut the butterflied hen in half and served with the pan gravy.
I was planning on saving the second half of the hen, but after the first half, could resist just picking it up and finishing the whole thing. I would have hated for it to dry out in the fridge overnight.