The Cornish hen, a petite-sized broiler chicken, is known and loved for its tender, juicy meat and let’s say it out loud, they’re tons of fun. When was the last time you had an entire chicken on your plate, right?
And although you can roast, broil and cook these hens just like chicken, their small size really makes your imagination run wild. That’s how I decided to make a few Cornish hens on a skillet and coat them with a classic, homemade maple glaze. Sticky, sweet, savory, this dish has it all. And you can’t get it wrong.
Besides, getting your hands on Cornish hens is easier than ever; you can even buy them frozen in a bag. Of course, if you can get fresh Cornish hens, don’t think about it twice! I’m using frozen (and defrosted) Cornish hens for this one, but the recipe is the same if you get them fresh.
Once you get a few yard birds, you’ll need to smother them in butter, salt and pepper. A pinch of dried herbs will give them a bit of personality, but that’s it; we don’t want to mess with the bird’s almost sweet flavor.
The glaze is equally simple. You first boil down orange juice and dry white wine, and then you sweeten it with maple syrup, and use the real stuff, the one that comes from maple trees not a factory. Now put it all together and enjoy a Michelin-star-quality meal!
For the maple glaze:
For the Cornish hens:
For the glaze, add the orange juice and white wine into a saucepan and heat over a medium flame until boiling. Add the maple syrup and let it heat until reduced in half. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
For the Cornish hens, cut between the breast to flatten them, rinse with water and pat dry.
In a bowl, combine the butter, salt, pepper and dried herbs. Using your hands, dry rub the Cornish hens on all sides, inside and out.
Heat a skillet over a high flame and place the Cornish hens’ front side down. Roast for 10 minutes on each side covered with a lid until golden and juicy. Coat each hen with a generous layer of maple glaze while still in the skillet and serve. Reheat any extra glaze and drizzle over the hens once plated.