recipes, mains, meatPhilip Solman

Cornish Hen Marbella

recipes, mains, meatPhilip Solman
Cornish Hen Marbella

Recipe by Debbra Mikaelsen - Photos by Helena McMurdo Photography

I find these little hens ideal for two—with a generous side of vegetables. Should you want dinner for four instead (or the likelihood of leftovers), the recipe is easy to double. This sauce is loosely inspired by the classic Chicken Marbella from The Silver Palate cookbook. Find Rock Cornish or Cornish game hens at specialty butcher shops here:

  • 1 Rock Cornish hen

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • ½ tsp kosher salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 pitted prunes, halved

  • 4 dried apricots, halved

  • ¼ cup Spanish green olives, pitted

  • 2 Tbsp capers

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar

  • ¼ cup white wine

  • juice of half a lemon

  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped fine

In a non-reactive bowl, combine garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, oil, dried fruit, olives, capers, and bay leaves. Pour over the hen and marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the hen in a cast iron skillet or shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon marinade over top, arranging the fruit and olives around the sides, and sprinkle the bird with brown sugar. Pour wine into the pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, basting several times with the wine and marinade. When done, remove from oven, squeeze lemon juice over the bird, and let it rest 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to arrange fruit and olives on a serving platter, ladle sauce over the hen, and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with rice or a crusty loaf to mop up the pan juices.