2 ratings

Three Citrus, Ancho, Garlic and Honey-Glazed Cornish Hens

A winning combination of citrus and spice
Three citrus, ancho, garlic and honey-glazed Cornish hens
Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune

These impressive Cornish hens will surely add a hefty dose of class, spice and tangy zest to your holiday dinner table. 

This recipe by JeanMarie Brownson appeared in the Chicago Tribune.


Four to eight skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves can be substituted for the hens.


  • 4 Cornish hens, each about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds, well rinsed
  • Juice from 2 large pink grapefruits, about 1 cup
  • Juice from 3 medium limes, about 1/3 cup
  • Juice from 1 large lemon, about 1/3 cup
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons light olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon each: chili powder, sweet paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 Cup honey
  • Pea shoots or fresh cilantro sprigs


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Put juices, garlic, oil, ancho and chili powders, paprika, salt and cumin into a blender.

Process until smooth.

Remove necks or gizzards from cavities of hens.

Tuck wing tips behind birds.

Put hens into a roasting or baking pan large enough so they do not touch.

Evenly pour all of the juice mixture over and into cavities of hens.

Turn to coat the hens well inside and out with the mixture.

Pour broth into the roasting pan.

Bake hens in center of the oven, turning pan once or twice, 45 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Ladle off about ½ cup of the pan juices into a small dish.

Stir in honey.

Evenly pour this mixture over the hens.

Return hens to the 400-degree oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 160 degrees, 20-25 minutes.

Use tongs to transfer hens to a platter.

Cover them loosely with foil; let rest.

Set the baking pan over the burner; boil pan juices until reduced enough to lightly coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. You will have about 2 cups.

Spoon some of the pan juices around hens on platter.

Garnish hens with pea shoots or cilantro.

Pass remaining pan juices in a small bowl with a ladle to enjoy with the hens.