Saturday, August 30, 2008

Eat Well, Cook Cheap & Easy - Cornish Hens

I wanted to make Cornish hens for a while: they're the perfect size when only cooking small batches of food. Seeing two hens in a package on sale for $3 seemed like the perfect time to try.

Things are very busy around here. I begin my full-time job in early September, I'm taking my sis up to college tomorrow and have to pack all my stuff so that when I return, I can throw it in the car and move down to Maryland for my work. Through this all, my room in my family's NY house has become a huge mess. Ugh!

Anyway, I made this a few weeks ago and thought it worthy of sharing: Orange-glazed, stuffed Cornish hens. The instructions are from, a wonderful resource with tons of recipes, reviews and meal suggestions. I made some changes to their listing, however, based on ingredients that I had on hand and on flavors I wanted to try. Specifically, this meant using pre-cooked/seasoned rice and kumquats instead of oranges.

You can click on the link above to see the original recipe. Here it is with my ingredients and approximate prices of the products for which you'll probably have to shop.


  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (>$1)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery ($1.99)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1-1/2 cups pre-cooked rice (I used a package of Uncle Ben's Spanish style Ready Rice -- it's what my boyfriend had in his apartment.) ($2.50)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons kumquat peel (It has more of a kick than orange, and I'd just purchased some at the store. I just tore it up, didn't grate it. They are small, but about six or eight kumquats did the job fine.) ($2)
  • 2 (1 1/4 pound) Cornish game hens ($3 on sale)
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/2 cup orange juice ($1.50)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kumquat peel


  1. In a skillet, saute the onion and celery in butter. Add rice, sugar, salt, and kumquat peel; mix well. (OMG it smells so good at this point!) Loosely stuff hens. Place, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow baking pan. In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients; spoon some over hens. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Cover and bake 40 minutes longer until juices run clear, brushing often with remaining glaze.
My take:

Since I used pre-cooked Spanish style rice I felt comfortable omitting some seasoning the recipe originally called for...I was at my boyfriend's apartment and options were limited. (Oregano, anyone?) We already had rice and celery, too. I purchased a single-serve orange juice container since I was leaving in a few days and didn't want a whole container going to waste. Oil, sugar, butter, salt and honey were also ingredients already on hand that I think most home cooks have, so I didn't list a price.

The kumquats were my specialty item buy, and they are more pricey - $4 or $5 a pound. But since I only needed a handful, they cost a dollar or two. They are very small and light.

This recipe sounds complicated and tastes delicious but is super easy to make. (As long as you defrost the hens with ample time. Mine we a bit frozen and a pain to open up the center. And make sure there are no giblets inside when you cook! Mine had none.) You just mix the ingredients in the pan and then stuff them in the bird. Glaze it, pop it in the oven and it cooks itself.

Bon Appetite!

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