Cornish Hens – Fancy Feast for the Finicky

For your guests who expect the red carpet treatment, cornish game hens are perfect in a galley oven. They make a beautiful presentation to surprise those visitors who think eating aboard is tailgate fare. I like to butterfly the hens so they can be roasted, then glazed, breast side up. No turning, no burning.

13 the table from port cropped for blog

Apricot Glazed Cornish Hens

4 small Cornish Hens
garlic powder
salt & pepper

2 tablespoons butter
4 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons rosemary, minced
½ cup apricot preserves
½ cup stone ground mustard
½ cup white wine
pinch of cayenne

9 almost 400

Preheat your oven to 400º

01 the hens
02 cutting the spine out

With a pair of kitchen scissors cut out the backbone by cutting along both sides of the bone. This is called “spatchcocking” and allows you to flatten out the birds. Cornish hens are fairly easy to cut through. Discard the backbones…or wrap, refrigerate and save for your crabbing trot lines.

03a butterflying old hand cropped out

Next open your butterflied hens and place them, cavity down, on a roasting pan. (or cake pan, or jelly roll pan, or whatever will fit in your galley stove) Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper, or any dry poultry seasoning at hand.

04 ready for the oven

The sun’s setting. Dinner will be “Mediterranean time” tonight. Again.

10 sun keeps setting

Place them in your 400º oven. You’ll notice the oven temperature will drop immediately and will take some time to reach 400º again, if ever. No worries. Just try to keep the temp above 325º.

09 saute shallots and rosemary

While the hens are roasting, prepare the glaze. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, add the shallots and rosemary, stirring until fragrant. Add the apricot preserves, mustard, white wine and cayenne pepper. Stir until warm and just bubbling. Add more wine if the glaze is too thick.

12 hens are done!

After 45 minutes, spoon the glaze over the hens and roast for another 15 minutes. Glaze again before transferring them to a platter. Enjoy with a seasonal Heirloom Tomato Salad. Recipe following.

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