Recipe by Shawnna Boles
"This recipe does just as well with a full chicken as it does with Cornish hens. The meat is tender and flavorful, and absolutely the best I've ever had! Don't leave the hens in the brine for too long, or the meat will be too salty."
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4 1/2 cups
4 1/2 cups
whole allspice berries
whole black peppercorns
Cornish game hens
grapefruit, cut into quarters
juicy orange, cut into quarters
lemon, cut into quarters
lime, cut into quarters
fresh rosemary, or to taste, chopped
fresh thyme, or to taste, chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Since creating this recipe, I've made some changes to it and have begun to use it with turkey. For the brine, I boil 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (using it is a shortcut to making it yourself with water and root veggies), 1 tablespoon allspice berries, 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 2 sprigs of thyme, and 2 sprigs of rosemary. I replace the water with 4 1/2 cups of unsweetened apple juice (this has really improved the recipe!). Brine the turkey for 1 hour per pound (a turkey bag in a cooler filled with ice, or the lid cracked a bit and set on the front porch, will keep it at the proper temperature). Remove the turkey, dry it with paper towels, allow it to come to room temperature, stuff it with the fruits and spices (if using cheesecloth, you can use dried spices for this instead of fresh), place a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme under the skin of the turkey, and put it into a 350F oven. Bake it as usual, knocking 20 to 30 minutes off of the usual time because brined poultry cooks faster, and then take it out and let it "rest" for 20 minutes so that the juices can be reabsorbed before you carve it. You can apply the same technique to chicken and cornish hens, but alter the time that they're in the brine and in the oven so that you don't end up with a salt lick! ;-) I like to add some rosemary and thyme to milk and allow it to absorb the flavor by setting it over low heat for an hour and use it with mashed potatoes. Enjoy the recipe!
This was out-of-this-world delicious! I was short on time, so I only brined my birds for about 1 1/2 hours (mine were small, so this was sufficient). My hens were done after 1 1/2 hours in the oven. The meat was tender and juicy. I have two more hens in the freezer and can't wait to make these again! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!
There was only one cornish hen left at Wholefoods so I decided to get a whole young chicken instead to make dinner for my girlfriend and myself as our post Christmas dinner. The chicken came out extremely tender and juicy. The citrus flavors were extremely vibrant yet simple- allowing the natural sweetness of the chicken to come through. We thoroughly enjoyed it and my girlfriend said it was the best roasted chicken she has ever had. So it made our Christmas extra special and romantic. Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe!
I made this today for Thanksgiving since we were only 3 for the holiday, and this was FABULOUS! The only difference was I used a whole chicken because the store marked up the cornish hens to a ridiculous price pre-holiday. I only had 2 hours to brine, and it was still a wonderful, moist and NOT salty chicken. This was a marvelous holiday meal. Other that the chicken change, I followed the recipe exactly, and all I can say is YUM! To anyone who thinks it sounds like a lot of work, it really wasn't, and SOOOO worth it! Thanks for this awesome recipe :)
I do not have a microwave. Does heating the citrus in a pan for a short while help?
Great simple recipe. Made for Valentine's Day and I only had enough time to leave my hens in the brine for 1 1\2 hours. They cooked up nice and juicy.
I made this recipe for Christmas Dinner and my family all thought it was delicious! The meat was so juicy and flavorful! I can't wait to make it again for company!
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