This elegant Cornish hen recipe is a festive alternative to turkey for your next holiday meal.

Karen Levin

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Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
45 mins
total:
1 hr
Yield:
4 servings (serving size: 1 hen half plus 3 tablespoons sauce)
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400°.

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  • Remove giblets and necks from hens. Rinse with cold water; pat dry. Remove skin; trim excess fat. Split hens in half lengthwise. Combine paprika, next 3 ingredients (through pepper), and 1/4 teaspoon chopped thyme; rub on hens.

  • Place hen halves, breast sides up, in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray; place a thyme sprig in the cavity of each bird.

  • Insert a thermometer into meaty part of a thigh, avoiding the bone. Bake at hens at 400° for 35 minutes or until thermometer registers 165°. Transfer hens to a platter; cover with foil.

  • To prepare sauce, place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour drippings from broiler pan into bag; let stand 10 minutes until fat rises to top. Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner. Drain drippings into a small bowl; discard fat. Set drippings aside.

  • Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes.

  • Combine broth, port, 1/4 teaspoon chopped thyme, cornstarch, cherries, reserved drippings, and any juices accumulated on platter; add to pan, and cook 5 minutes. Serve hens with sauce; garnish with additional thyme sprigs, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

272 calories; fat 7g; saturated fat 2g; mono fat 3g; poly fat 2g; protein 33g; carbohydrates 13g; fiber 1g; cholesterol 147mg; iron 2mg; sodium 243mg; calcium 29mg.