Spicy Cornish Hens are topped with a delicious sauce made of Dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, pepper sauce, balsamic vinegar, and raspberry jam. Instead of tomatoes, this sauce is based upon roasted sweet red peppers to give a gentle sweet heat to the dish. You may reduce some of the hot ingredients, if you must, but do keep some. The secret to the success of this recipe is the play between the sweet and heat.
Add a side dish or two, and this makes a delightfully satisfying, yet incredibly easy, meal for 4. This method also works well with chicken.
Spicy Cornish Hens Recipe
1 cup roasted red peppers, drained
2 Tablespoons seedless raspberry jam or jelly
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
2 (about 1 pound each) rock cornish game hens, split in half lengthwise through the breastbone (see Notes)
Place roasted red peppers, raspberry jelly or jam, olive oil, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, cayenne, hot pepper sauce, and red pepper flakes into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until smooth.
Pour the red pepper sauce into a small saucepan and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a shallow roasting pan with nonstick foil.
Place cornish hens skin side up in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake 30 minutes. Remove and coat with the pepper sauce. Bake an additional 10 minutes until browned.
Remove from oven, tent lightly with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Yield: 4 servings
Notes: The easiest way to split the cornish hens is by using poultry or kitchen shears. Cut along the breastbone first and open it out flat. Then cut up either side of the backbone. Freeze the backbone to add to your next batch of homemade chicken broth or to flavor soups.
Spicy Cornish Hens Recipe Photo ©2020 Peggy Filippone