Recipe by USA WEEKEND columnist Pam Anderson
"Cornish game hens are festive and readily available. I've even made them the centerpiece of a holiday meal. These little birds cook much more quickly than other holiday roasts, such as lamb or ham. I normally figure on one hen (in the 1 1/2- to 2-pound range) to serve every two guests - especially if you also plan to have a first course and a dessert."
Watch video tips and tricks
Cornish game hens (about 1 1/2 pounds each), cut down the backbone with heavy-duty scissors and spread open
Apricot Pistachio Dressing:
medium-large onion, cut into medium dice
dried apricots, cut into medium dice
pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
chopped fresh parsley
With the exception of putting it on the upper level of the oven. I found that @ 450 degrees this browned it way to fast. I would cook it at 350 and then a little higher at the end to darken the color of the skin. Other than that it was a hit at my home. I will make it again.
This recipe is great. I made a one as a test before Thanksgiving, and then made some modifications and made a full batch for Thanksgiving. Salt water bath made all of the difference. Had to turn down heat and cook longer like most others. Also, take the vinegar and jam mixture and multiply it by 4 if you want enough to bast with, otherwise you pan will run dry and burn up. I did not use the nuts like most others as well. The hens came out with a great flavor, tender, the meat was almost falling off the bone before I could transfer them to the serving tray.
The Cornish Game Hens had a nice sweet crispy apricot glazed skin and the breast meat was tender and juicy with a nice hint of citrus zest. I would recommend lowering the temperature and covering with foil to begin and finishing up with roasting it on the 450 temperature. I added the pistachio nuts to cook with the dressing instead of adding it at the end and it softened up the nuts nicely for those who do not like the crunch.
This turned out extremely well although the "Stuffing" was a bit on the oniony side. I used 4x the amount of apricot jam and only 2x the amount of vinegar and it turned out great. The birds were slightly sweet and outstanding. Cooking temp should be 350 for 45 minutes and 390 for 5-10.
These hens are a wonderful holiday or company entree making a lovely presentation. I'm glad I read the other reviews; even at 350-degrees the hens started to get dark brown before they were cooked through, so tenting with foil may be needed. Keep a watch on them. Also, there is not an abundance of fruit or pan juices, so if you like lots, you might want to increase the amount of fruit and deglaze the pan with chicken broth or white wine at the end. Definitely worth making!
The Cornish hens made a wonderful Christmas Day dinner. We adjusted the time and temperature according to a previous reviewer. And, as suggested by others, we ultimately covered the hens with foil to keep them from browning too quickly. With regard to the dressing, it burned a little, but we were able to salvage enough in the end.
I wish I would have read the comments regarding the recipe. It did brown too quickly. I ended up tenting with aluminum foil to avoid over browning. I didn't use the pistachio garnish on the side. Not much juice left and decided it wasn't necessary. The Hens were delicious and tender, tasty all the way through. I will use this recipe again cook at a lower temp. and leave out the parsley and pistachio’s.
This was delicious! I made it in place of a traditional turkey for Thanksgiving and we really enjoyed it. I didn't use the pistachios and parsley and like others, I lowered the cooking temperature to about 375 then turned it up to 400 for the last 5 minutes.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Glazed Cornish Game Hens With Apricot Pistachio Dressing
Serving Size: 1/8 of a recipe
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat: 504
Everything you need to party like a leprechaun.
New for spring! Good-for-you food you’ll love to eat.
Delicious recipes, party ideas, and helpful cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for just $9.99!
Impress guests with these elegant hens—the perfect size to serve individually.
See how to make impressive roasted game hens with a savory white wine sauce.
See how to grill game hens marinated in blood orange juice and rosemary.