Meat, Poultry, Pork

Burnished Cornish Hens with Roasted Onions and Sweet Potatoes | Print |
(15 votes, average 3.27 out of 5)

Photo credit: Kitchen Confidante

Serves 4


  • 4 Cornish game hens, each about 1 ¼ pounds
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) Frontera Chipotle Garlic Taco Skillet Sauce or Frontera Guajillo Salsa
  • 2 large (about 1 ½ pounds total) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 3/8-inch thick slices
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • About 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • Salt, preferably coarse
  • 1 generous teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur, optional


  1. Rinse the hens, pat dry, place in a large bowl and drizzle with the sauce or salsa. Turn to coat them all well. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate as long as overnight.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring to a boil several inches of heavily salted water. Add the sweet potatoes, and boil for 5 minutes, then add the onion and cook 3 minutes longer, under both are nearly tender (the sweet potatoes can still have a slight crunch at the center). Drain and spread on a tray to cool.
  3. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the hens from the marinade, scraping as much marinade as possible back into the bowl. Stir the orange juice into the marinade.
  4. Lightly oil a large roasting pan and place the birds in it, breast-side up, legs facing out. Brush each hen with oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and scatter the potatoes, onions and fresh thyme around the hens. Spoon all of the marinade mixture over the hens and vegetables, and return to the oven. Roast until the hen’s thigh juices run clear when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes more.
  5. With a pair of tongs, remove the hens and vegetables to a large serving platter and loosely cover with foil. Spoon the fat off from the pan juices, then place the roasting pan over medium heat and boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan until reduced to a light cream-sauce consistency. Taste and season with the optional liqueur and salt if necessary. Spoon the sauce around the hens and vegetables, decorate the platter with sprigs of thyme and you’re ready to present your beautiful creation.


Note: The marinade can be safely reused in this recipe because it is subjected to the high oven temperature and then the boiling in step 5.