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Maple Orange Cornish Hens

Submitted by on March 12, 2010 – 1:58 pmNo Comment
Maple syrup is definitely not just for pancakes. This is a great recipe for Cornish Hens that will definitely make all your hard work boiling down Maple sap this spring worth while. True, oranges cannot be locally sourced, but this time of year you need a dose of vitamin C so I think it’s worth the cheat. I partially boned the hens (leaving the wing and thigh bones in) which made for a less aggravating dining experience. Your guests will thank you for going the extra mile. Serve with seasonal vegetables and buttermilk mashed potatoes.
One of my new favourite dishes and surprisingly simple to make (once the boning is done, that is).


    1/3 cup (75 mL) Sweet Ass pure maple syrup
    1/3 cup (75 mL) orange juice
    2 tbsp (25 mL) white wine, (optional)
    2 tsp (10 mL) chopped dried rosemary
    3 Cornish hens, (each about 1-1/4 lb/625 g)
    1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated orange rind
    1 Pinch salt
    1 Pinch pepper
    Fresh rosemary sprigs
    Fresh orange slices


In small saucepan, whisk together maple syrup, orange juice, wine (if using) and rosemary. Bring to boil; boil for 3 to 5 minutes or until glaze is slightly thickened. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, if you’re not boning the birds as I did, cut wing tips from hens. Using kitchen shears or sharp knife, cut along each side of backbone; discard backbone. Cut through breastbone to separate into halves. Trim off excess fat and skin.

Gently loosen skin from each half of hens, leaving skin attached at back side. Starting at breast, ease in orange rind over flesh under skin.

Place hens, skin side up, on foil-lined baking sheet. Season lightly with salt and pepper; brush with one-third of the glaze.

Bake hens in 375°F (190°C) oven, brushing with glaze twice, for 45 minutes or until browned and juices run clear when hen is pierced.

Arrange hens on serving platter; garnish attractively with rosemary and orange slices and serve with seasonal vegetables and buttermilk mashed potatoes.

(adapted from the Canadian Living Test Kitchen)

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