Recipe: Maple-Glazed Cornish Game Hens with Carrots

Maple-Glazed Cornish Hens with Carrots, Courtesy:
Maple-Glazed Cornish Hens with Carrots, Courtesy:

When I think of Cornish Game Hens, it brings back memories of my mother having a dinner party in the 70s, and serving them with a broccoli casserole side dish and a molded jello dessert with fruit on the bottom. Let’s not forget the frozen blender drinks – I recall something called a Blue Whale and a Mint Grasshopper. Apparently, it was neat to give everyone their own Cornish game hen and let them wrestle with it on their plate, chasing it around with a fork and knife.

Fast forward many years and Cornish hens may be making a comeback. However, now we politely carve them and serve them on a platter, allowing guests to keep their dignity in the dining room.

A Cornish game hen is a young chicken (less than five weeks old), weighing under two pounds, and is often the hybrid of a Cornish chicken crossed with another breed of chicken. It can be either male or female, despite being called a hen ( So, now you know!

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cumin
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 Cornish game hens (about 1 3/4 pounds each)
3 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 pounds carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 medium red onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
kitchen twine (no, not to eat! for trussing the chicken)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Stir together maple syrup and cumin; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Using kitchen twine, tie hen legs together, then tuck wing tips underneath.
  4. Place hens on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with 1 teaspoon oil; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast 10 minutes.
  6. Remove sheet from oven and add carrots, onion, garlic, and thyme.
  7. Toss vegetables with 2 teaspoons oil and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Roast 20 minutes.
  9. Brush hens with maple mixture.
  10. Continue to roast, brushing twice more, until juices run clear when hens are pierced between breast and leg or an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, about 15 minutes.
  11. Transfer hens to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile, toss vegetables with lemon juice.
  13. Carve hens and serve with vegetables.

Food Mingle Blog Alternative and Substitutions:

  • This recipe needs potatoes! Where oh where are the potatoes? Next time, I will add less carrots and add potatoes and maybe some celery too.
  • The quartered onion seemed too big. Next time I would rough chop it, so that it still holds up to the heat, but it small enough to easily eat.
  • These hens were quite tasty, but honestly, I think it’s the idea of cooking a hen that I like more than actually carving and eating it. It’s a lot of effort for not that much return – at least with a chicken, you get more meat. However, for a fancy version of chicken, go for it!

Yield: 2 hens

Source: http://www.marthastewart.comEveryday Food, September 2009 , and



2 thoughts on “Recipe: Maple-Glazed Cornish Game Hens with Carrots

  1. Bob September 7, 2015 / 7:10 pm

    I think this recipe deserves a re-write because the preparation is not in sync! you a million pounds of veggie’s being tossed, oil, cook and prepared over and over. The directions would confused any new cook who wants to try cooking something other then FAST FOOD.

    Words Missing: set a side, to be used later, roast veggie’s only, continue to roast everything etc.

    The rewrite would also encourage a new cook to try this tasty meal

    Just my 1/2 of teaspoon worth,



    • Nancy at Food Mingle Blog September 8, 2015 / 2:49 pm

      Hi Bob – Thanks for your comment. I can understand your desire to make this recipe more user friendly. However, this recipe is verbatim from the Martha Stewart website, as noted in the source line. I strive to prepare the recipes as given, so that I can properly comment on them. While I did not find the recipe overly complex, it was labor intensive and time consuming. Next time, I will be sure to comment on the text of the recipe if I find that it can be improved, especially for new cooks. Thanks again for your thoughts.


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