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Roasted Citrus-Herb Game Hen

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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2 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) Cornish game hens

1/4 cup olive oil

2 shallots, minced

2 tablespoons orange zest, from 2 medium oranges

2 tablespoons lemon zest, from about 3 lemons

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

2 tablespoons Marsala wine or dry sherry

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1/4 cup dried cranberries or currants

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


  1. Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the game hens and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, shallots, orange zest, lemon zest, thyme, mint, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the zest mixture over the skins of the game hens. Place the remainder of the zest mixture under the skin and into the cavities of the hens. Using kitchen twine, truss the legs together. Place the hens in a shallow 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Add the chicken stock, Marsala wine, lemon juice, orange juice, and cranberries. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the leg juices run clear. Remove the game hens and set aside. Place the flour in a small saucepan. Whisk in the pan juices. Bring the juices to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  3. To serve, remove the kitchen twine and place the hens on 2 serving plates. Drizzle with the citrus-herb sauce.

Cook’s Note

Reserve 1/4 cup of the citrus-herb sauce for the Crouton Salad.