Plate the hens and dish the sauce and cranberries over top. Garnish with sprigs of thyme or their leaves. Serve with mashed potatoes or wild rice and a vegetable. We can make it tastier by adding green beans with either crumbled goat cheese or toasted slivered almonds.
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 3 1-1/2 lb cornish game hens, cut into halves (ask your butcher to butterfly the hens). Chicken breasts or legs may be substituted
- 3 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, plus several sprigs for garnish
- 3/8 cup maple syrup
- 3/8 cup mustard
- 3 tbsp ginger , julienned (cut into thin matchsticks)
- 1-1/2 tsp ground peper
- 3/8 cup butter
- 1 cup red wine or white wine, use what it being served with the meal)
- 3 cups orange juice, preferably made from fresh oranges
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp water
- 3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
- Salt and peper
- 1 tsp lemon juice or sherry vinegar, optional
Marinate Cornish hens
- 1. Add whisk maple syrup, mustard, ginger, pepper and 2 teaspoons of the thyme in a small bowl.
- 2. Cover hens with marinade.
- 3. Marinate in fridge from one hour to overnight. The longer marinade is, the better flavor is.
- 1. Heat up skillet or oven.
- 2. Add butter or oil and then add hen halves, skin side up. Dry up for 3 – 4 minutes until deep brown. Turn skin side down, and sear for 4 – 6 minutes.
- 3. With hens well browned, add wine to pan to deglaze, scraping any brown bits and dissolving that into the wine. Cook for 2 – 4 minutes, reducing wine slightly.
- 4. Add the orange juice, stock, zest and 1 tbsp (or a couple of sprigs) of thyme. Bring to a gentle boil and then simmer. Cover with a close fitting lid.
- 5. Braise hen halves until cooked through and juices run clear when pierced with fork, about 40-50 minutes. A longer, slower braise will add flavor. Roast every 15-20 minutes.
To make sauce
- 1. Take hens out pan and cover with tin foil to keep warm.
- 2. Remove braising liquid and as much fat as possible.
- 3. Quickly bring the braising liquid (sauce) to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to approx. 2-3 cups.
- 4. Dissolve 3 tbsp of cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk with 3 tbsp of water to form an even, non-lumpy slurry.
- 5. After the sauce is reduced, return to a slow boil and whisk in the cornstarch so that the sauce thickens slightly.
- 6. Add cranberries into the sauce. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute or until cranberries reconstitute. Taste for seasoning, add salt or pepper if necessary. If you want your gravy drier or more acidic, add 1 tsp lemon juice or sherry vinegar.
- 7. Plate the hens and dish the sauce and cranberries over top. Garnish with sprigs of thyme or their leaves. Serve with mashed potatoes or wild rice and a vegetable.
We can make it tastier by adding green beans with either crumbled goat cheese or toasted slivered almonds.