Roasted Garlic Lime Cornish Hens with Orange Glaze

An appeal came my way for a dish I had not prepared in years and when the request came, I had to ask, “Do you remember it being good” which sent me wondering how I had cooked my last Cornish hens. So, I searched my memory banks for ways to prepare the hens and the best presentation for the palate. It was a short trip.

That’s when I decided to start anew and do it the way my taste buds would lead. With two cookbooks in the works, I am inclined to fit it into one or the other: Bayou/Creole or Western/Mexican. The latter won out much too easily and besides, it seems to be a perfect marriage between these two little birds. I think a little addition of spice stimulates things up a bit and pares nicely with the sweet suggestion of the glaze in seducing these succulent hens. What do you think?

Roasted Garlic Lime Cornish Hens with Orange Glaze
2 servings

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
2 - 1 1/2 pound Cornish game hens, thawed & patted dry
1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup orange Marmalade
2 tablespoons dry Sherry
Pinch of cinnamon
2 thin orange slices, optional

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, cilantro, lime zest, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and half of the melted butter.

Loosen the skin along the breast section on each hen with your fingers. Spoon about half of the garlic mixture under the skin and distribute evenly. Tie the legs together with twine and place in a small roaster. Brush remaining butter over the hens and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.

Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Add the broth and baste every 10 minutes for another 30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 170 degrees F.

While the hens are roasting, mix the glaze ingredients together in a small saucepan and simmer until thick. Turn off heat.

Brush the glaze over the hens the last 10 minutes topping each with the orange slice for garnishment.

Transfer the hens to a serving platter and let stand for 10 minutes before plating. Serve with a western style rice or pilaf, if desired.


  1. that looks so beautiful and delicious. I love the marmalade glaze. I can just imagine the beautiful taste....mmmm

  2. absolutely sensational looks mouth watering been looking for a good cornish hen recipe, I always make them the same way roasted in a coking bag with lots of garlic and lemon...these sounds fab....thanks

  3. Great recipe, I love the marmalade glaze and I'm sure the sherry add a great flavour to it:)

  4. The addition of cilantro and lime zest with the cayenne makes this a great flavor combination. And then the orange marmalade and sherry glaze, and the platter display is impressive too. Reminds me of the bygone era of gourmonde treats!

    CCR =:~)

  5. I could do this tomorrow night. But I just don't have the orange marmalade. I love orange marmalade as a marinade or as glaze.

  6. I agree, the glaze looks like the key to success on this one!

    Peas Love Carrots

  7. Yum! the orange glaze sounds terrific!

  8. Hey neighbor! Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog au gratin cabbage post. Love finding fellow southern food bloggers so I'm happy to have discovered your blog and I've added it to my reading list now.

    I haven't done cornish hens in ages - these look great! Look forward to seeing the rest of your dishes.

  9. Wow, sounds delicious with orange marmalade for!

  10. This recipe is out of this world! Spicy and sweet is a stellar combo for poultry.

  11. I love Cornish hens, but get bored with them by themselves. I love the lime-garlic combination. Delish!


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