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Monday, February 21, 2011

Extreme Orange Cornish Hen/or Chicken Breasts with Toasted Pecans

I've tried several orange sauces for poultry.  I always longed for a more intense orange flavor.  Therefore, I created my own with one of my favorite items - orange marmalade.  Now many of the recipes I tried already had orange marmalade; so, I thought why not really use it...without adding all those other unnecessary ingredients - and that's just what I did...adding only a minimum number of spices!

Impress your guests and enjoy them at the same time with this simple, but definitely not ordinary entree!

                      Oh You Shouldn't Have Gone to all That Trouble....
                                      (I won't tell them if you won't...)

Ingredients (Per one to two Servings)
  • One Rock Cornish Game Hen - thawed* (Conventionally one whole hen is served per person; I find one-half is enough for some.)
  • 2 TB butter or margarine (melted)
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • dash garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • approx. 1 c. orange marmalade** (divided)
  • approx. 1/4 c. toasted,*** chopped pecans
  • 2 orange slices (for garnish)

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Wash and dry hen.
  3. Cut hen in half along breastbone and backbone.  Remove backbone if you like and save for soup stock or discard.  (Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife; I have surgery scissors -  I don't know where they came from, but they work great!)
  4. Place hen halves body up on a broiler pan. (You can cover the bottom of the pan w/foil for easier clean up if you wish.)
  5. Coat the hen halves with the melted butter or margarine.
  6. Sprinkle with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and oregano.
  7. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
  8. Spread the hen halves lavishly with 1/4 c. orange marmalade** while trying to keep as much of the marmalade on the hen as possible.
  9. Cook for another 30 minutes; watch closely and cover with foil if necessary to avoid overbrowning.
  10. Spread another 1/4 c. orange marmalade** on the hen halves and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.***
  11. Cook another 15 minutes or until the hen halves reach 180º-190º when a poultry temperature gauge is inserted in the thickest part of each half.
  12. Per serving, warm 1/4 c. orange marmalade for extra sauce and serve in a condiment dish on each plate.
Garnish each serving with a twisted slice of orange and enjoy with yellow rice and green beans almondine or your favorite sides!

***To toast the pecans, place on a microwave-proof plate and microwave on high about four times in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment, or until the pecans are light brown.

For Chicken Breasts:

Serves 3-4

Ingredients - Same as for Cornish hen, except:
  • 3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • substitute sea salt for kosher salt 

    Directions (be careful not to under or over cook)
    1. Preheat oven to 350º.
    2. Melt butter or margarine in an oblong glass baking dish in the oven.
    3. If necessary, pound the chicken breasts to achieve no more than an approx. 1/2" thickness.
    4. Place the chicken  in the baking dish and coat with the butter or margarine.
    5. Sprinkle the chicken with the seasonings and bake uncovered about 10 minutes on one side; turn, coat with the cooking juices and bake about 10 more minutes on the other side.
    6. Flip the breasts and spread lavishly with 1/2 c. orange marmalade
      and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.
    7. Cook about 10 more minutes and remove the breasts to a serving platter.
    8. For the sauce:   Whisk 1/2 cup orange marmalade into the juices in the baking dish and warm in the oven about 10 minutes.
    9. Spoon some sauce from the baking dish over the chicken breasts; if you have extra sauce, serve on the side in a gravy dish.
    10. Garnish your serving platter with the orange slices and enjoy!


    1. I love the way that citrus tastes with poultry, and cornish game hens always remind me of my mother...she loves making them during the holidays. Thank you for sharing your words, pictures and recipes. And thank you for your kind thoughts on my blog. I appreciate you!

    2. @Monet - Yes, I love citrus with poultry and also fish and certain beef dishes too. In fact, I guess I just love it, since (what's that got to do w/this) I love it in body sprays and washes too! I did serve the Orange Cornish Hen for a holiday not too long ago. Your writing and recipes are wonderful!

    3. Cornish hens are one of my favorite poultry dishes, one of the reasons being that you can just make one hen for each person and there's no fighting over who gets the wings, drumsticks, thighs, etc. I love the way you really rocked out the orange flavor in this recipe and will be bookmarking to try later...maybe in the previously discussed orange theme dinner :)

    4. @Eating Bangkok - Yes, I think it's a fun, special dish to serve...I didn't think about how each person gets all the parts - good point! Yes, let's have an orange party! Hope you enjoy!