This week we decided to focus on a new product for Midamarhalal.com: the cornish hen. These hens are perfect for a nice dinner at home and can feed 1 to 2 people each, and with this recipe, you can be sure you won't have any leftovers!
Even though we're in winter, we're still craving the warm autumn flavors like apples, apple cider, and cinnamon, and this recipe brings all that! We start with cooking some onions and celery, then season them with herbs like thyme and sage. We call for fresh chopped herbs, but dried will work as well. After all that we add some earthiness with pecans and finish it all with apple cider to bring some extra fruitiness to the final dish.
Then we add bite sized apple pieces, some dried cranberries, and give it some body with fully cooked rice. By combining all these ingredients we give our cornish hens even more flavor.
But the thing that helps keep these cornish hens juicy is the sweet and savory glaze! Combining apple cider, real maple syrup, cinnamon, and dijon mustard helps accentuate the sweet fruitiness while not becoming overwhelmingly sweet.
If you want to see us make this, click here, or see the full recipe below!
4 tbsp melted butter, divided
salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup + 2 tbsp divded apple cider
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp sage, fresh chopped or 1 1/2 tbsp rubbed sage
2 tsp thyme, fresh chopped or 3 tsp dried thyme
1-1/2 cup cooked rice of choice, I used basmati
1/2 honey crisp apple, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, fresh chopped or dry
1) In a pan, melt butter, add onions and celery and cook until softened. Add pecans, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook for 3 minutes or until pecans are fragrant. Add 1 tbsp apple cider and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat, add cooked rice, apples, cranberries, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, if needed, and set aside.
2) Combine the apple cider and maple syrup in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer until mixture thickens, add dijon and cinnamon, and cook until mixture is syrupy.
3) Preheat oven to 425°. Season cornish hens cavity with salt and pepper. Spoon rice stuffing into each cavity. Tie the legs closed with cooking twine, tuck the wings under the bird and place in an aluminum foil lined baking dish, breast-side up. Brush the birds with melted butter, season with salt and pepper if desired, and roast for 20 minutes.
4) After 20 minutes, reduce heat to 375° and roast for an additional 40-50 minutes. During the last 30 minutes, glaze birds with apple cider syrup every ten minutes until all glaze is used.
5) The thickest part of the bird should register at 180°, once this temperature is reached the birds are done. Let rest for 10 minutes, serve with remaining cranberry apple rice and enjoy!