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Glazed Cornish Hens with Garlicky Radicchio

The ginger preserves in the glaze makes these hens particularly piquant, but any citrus preserves will do.

slideshow Terrific Green Salads

  • Servings: 4

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  • Four 1 1/4-pound Cornish hens
  • 16 cilantro sprigs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium orange, zest finely grated and orange quartered
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ginger preserves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 1 3/4 pounds radicchio, cut into 1-inch pieces¬†


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Using your fingertips, carefully loosen the breast skin of each hen; tuck the cilantro sprigs under the skin. Season the cavities with salt and pepper and tuck an orange quarter into each one. Set the hens on a baking sheet, rub them with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the hens for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced. Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, toast the cumin seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the orange juice, honey, ginger preserves, cayenne and orange zest and cook until syrupy, about 4 minutes. Brush the glaze all over the Cornish hens.
  3. Broil the hens for about 2 minutes, until browned all over. Transfer the hens to a serving platter and keep warm; reserve the pan juices.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the radicchio and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in any reserved pan juices, season the radicchio with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute longer.
  5. Spoon the radicchio onto plates, top with the hens and serve.

Suggested Pairing

The sweet and spicy flavors here suggest Viognier, which has similar notes of honey, orange and ginger. Pick a fruity, single-grape example or a blend.

Contributed By Photo © William Meppem Published May 2002

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