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Roasted Cornish Hens with Rhubarb Chutney

Roasted Cornish Hens with Rhubarb Chutney
Each of these flavorful 1-lb. hens, also known as Rock Cornish game hens, provides a perfect serving for one. Rhubarb, available from late winter to early summer, provides a wonderfully tangy sauce. Take care to discard any leaves from the stalks, as they are toxic.


For the rhubarb chutney:

  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/4 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into
    1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

For the Cornish hens:

  • 6 Cornish game hens, each about 1 lb., halved
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted


To make the chutney, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, cloves, ginger, sugar and raisins. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the raisins soften, about 5 minutes. Add the rhubarb and boiling water. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is soft, about 20 minutes. If any liquid still remains, simmer over high heat until it almost evaporates. Transfer the chutney to a bowl and let cool.

To prepare the hens, preheat an oven to 500°F. Rinse the hen halves well and pat dry with paper towels. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Place the hen halves, skin side up, in a single layer in a roasting pan. Brush the hens lightly with some of the melted butter. Roast the hens, basting with the remaining butter and the pan juices after about 12 minutes, until they are golden and the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced, about 25 minutes total. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, place 2 hen halves on each warmed individual plate. Spoon the chutney on the side.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Spring, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).