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Joseph “JJ” Johnson, the chef at The Cecil in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood, loves how juicy and flavorful Cornish hens can be. Here he seasons them with a West African yassa-style marinade, which includes onion and lemon as well as tamari, herbs and Dijon mustard. Slideshow: More Chicken Recipes 

December 2016


Credit: © John Kernick

Recipe Summary

2 hrs 10 mins
15 hrs


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a blender or food processor, pulse all of the ingredients except the hens until chunky.

  • In a large bowl, season the hens with salt. Add the marinade and rub it all over the hens and in the cavities. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.

  • Preheat the oven to 375°. Set a rack over a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the hens on the rack, leaving some of the marinade in the cavities. Roast for about 1 hour, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thighs registers 165° and the juices run clear. Transfer the hens to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

Make Ahead

The marinade can be refrigerated for 3 days.