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Ginger Glazed Game Hens

Ginger-Orange Cornish Game Hens

Bring back the classic Cornish Game Hen with a zesty twist. Ginger, Orange and Cayenne combine to flavor these delightful mini versions of roast poultry. The pungent licorice flavor of the tarragon adds an intriguing dimension.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, Asian
Servings 4


  • Roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet
  • Cooking spray, foil or parchment paper (to line the roasting pan)
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Small mixing bowl (to make the glaze)
  • instant-read thermometer
  • Brush or spoon (to put glaze on the hens)
  • Small saucepan
  • Tongs (to transfer the cooked hens to a serving platter)


  • 1 onion (cut into rounds, 1/2" thick)
  • 1 large orange (zest - set aside, then cut into rounds, 1/2" thick)
  • 2 Cornish Game Hens (about 1 1/2 lbs. each, cut in half, backbone removed)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Au jus

  • 2 tablespoons water (if needed)


  • Orange zest
  • Fresh sprig tarragon
  • Fresh-cracked black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Coat a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray (or foil, or parchment paper).
  • Place the onion and orange rounds in the pan.
  • Put the hens on top of the slices. Rub with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake the hens until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the breast registers 170°F, 30 to 35 minutes.


  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the marmalade, ginger, tarragon and cayenne. Set aside.
  • When the hens are cooked, remove from the oven and brush the hens with the marmalade mixture.
  • Set the oven to broil and place the rack 6 inches from the heat source. Broil the hens until the glaze is lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the hens to a serving platter or plates.

Au jus

  • Pour the remaining juices into a small saucepan. Use an orange slice as a spatula to scrape up any browned bits. Put all this into the saucepan, add water (if needed) and bring to a low simmer. Reduce to desired amount. Stir often.


  • Pour the sauce over the hens and serve, garnish with orange zest, sprig of fresh tarragon and fresh-cracked black pepper.


Instead of the Hens, you can use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or chicken breast, roast 25-35 minutes.
Instead of the dried tarragon, you can use 1 tsp fennel powder or 1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice.
Keyword chicken, Cornish Game Hens, ginger, marmalade, orange, tarragon