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Grilled Cornish Hens

Grilled Cornish Hens
Los Angeles Times

Just because fall is coming doesn't mean the grill goes in the garage. Slightly cooler weather can make for better grilling (who wants to sweat over a hot fire?). And grilled food enlivens a fall menu. For a change of ... Read more

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus 4 hours marinating | Serves 4 to 6
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 small Cornish hens, about 2 pounds each, thawed if frozen, split, backbone removed with kitchen shears
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup orange marmalade mixed with 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, for glaze
  • Orange slices, for serving

Step 1Spray a grill rack set 4 inches from the heat source with nonstick cooking spray. Heat the grill to medium.

Step 2Place the hens in a large plastic food bag. Combine the orange juice, vinegar, oil, garlic, rosemary, shallot, zest, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, red pepper flakes and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the marinade over the hens. Turn the bag around several times until the hens are evenly coated with the marinade. Marinate 4 to 6 hours, refrigerated, turning the bag occasionally. Bring the hens to room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.

Step 3Remove the hens from the marinade; discard the marinade. Lightly sprinkle the hens with salt and pepper.

Step 4Place the hens skin side down on the rack. Grill, turning with tongs 3 to 4 times, until the meat is fully opaque (insert a knife in the joint between the breast and thigh to check; there should be no redness), and the skin is brown and crispy. This should take about 40 minutes. Brush each side of the hens with the glaze on the last turn.

Step 5Transfer them to a platter. Brush the tops with the glaze again. Arrange the Warm Spinach Salad on a platter. Place the hens attractively on top. Garnish the platter with the orange slices and rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately. Alternately, serve the hens and salad on separate platters; this way, the hens can be served warm or at room temperature.


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