Citrus Baked Cornish Hens


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I hope your 2016 has gotten off to a fabulous start! I recently took a bit of a hiatus from posting new material, just so I could take some time and enjoy my time off from work and focus on this years' blogging plan. It's our goal to take this from being a hobby to a full-time project within the next two years.

The past few weeks something clicked for me when it comes to the content that I enjoy producing for the site, so I'm going to run with it! Since I'm semi-obsessed with wine, love cooking and enjoy entertaining, I thought, what the heck, let's occasionally combine the three and see where it goes... On top of that, over the next several weeks, we'll be doing some minor revamping on the overall aesthetic of the website as we want to give it a cleaner, more polished look. If you have any tips or suggestions, let us know!

Enough babbling, let's get into this recipe.

Citrus Baked Cornish Hens

A few years ago, I purchased some dwarf orange trees at the annual Ag Expo not knowing what I was actually going to do with them. Currently, I’m swimming in oranges; there’s so many I can’t eat them fast enough. 

For years, I’ve been using lemon and orange peel alongside of my usual favorites (pepper, rosemary, thyme) on chicken. Something about the flavors make me feel like I’m sitting down for a fancy dinner, even if my husband and I are eating in front of the television arguing over which hockey game we’re watching. For the record, he always wins. Boo, Sharks. Go, Ducks! Anyhow, a few weeks ago I was unable to find my jar of orange peel so I went outside and ripped an orange from off the tree. 

Cornish hens are one of those things I rarely cook, not because they aren’t delicious, but because they seem to be too elegant to eat in front of the television. However when I’m entertaining guests, it’s the perfect main dish. Add roasted oranges and onions and my dinner guests think I’m a culinary genius.

citrus baked cornish hens orange insolence + wine


  • 2 cornish hens
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 onions, cut into eighths
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Remove the zest from 1 of the oranges in 1/2-inch strips. Reserve the orange. Dry hens with a towel. Place the zest strips and garlic in the cavities of the Cornish hens, dividing evenly. Brush the hens with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours. Remove the hens from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting. 
  2. Preheat oven to 450º
  3. Coarsely chop the oranges, remove as much of the membrane as possible. Add the onions and toss with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon, or more as needed). Spread on the bottom of a baking dish, place hens on top of orange mixture, breast side up.
  4. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the hen, away from the bone, registers 160°F, 50 to 60 minutes. 
  5. Transfer the hens to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide the orange mixture evenly among individual plates, top each with half a hen and serve immediately.
citrus baked cornish hens insolence + wine

Suggested Wine Pairing

I served this dish with the intention of it being a "white wine" night—I know, a rarity for me! I selected wines that would enhance the citrus flavors, such as Riesling and Moscato. You might remember back in October when we had our autumn wine tasting party, everyone loved this Riesling and a case of it has since moved into in our wine fridge.

Tools Used

Pyrex® Rectanglular Glass Baker
John Boos & Co. Reversible Walnut Cutting Board
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro Prep Knife
Polder Instant-Read Thermometer
Kuhn Rikon Garlic Peeler
Rosle® Peeler