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Honey Glazed Masala Cornish Hen Recipe

Updated on March 21, 2014
Masala Cornish Hen in a bed of crunchy veggies
Masala Cornish Hen in a bed of crunchy veggies | Source

The Sweet and Succulent Cornish Hen

Last Thanksgiving I had an extreme desire that I will roast a turkey for my family and friends but somehow my desire was unfulfilled, might be due to lack of right initiative from my part at that particular moment (I can beat a tortoise for being lazy at times). Although I always love the idea of roasting an entire turkey or chicken but an entire turkey can never be consumed by a mini family like ours consisting of me and my husband and till now I could not find a right occasion to lay a grand feast where I can carve out an entire turkey. A couple of days before when I was wandering in Walmart I came across these frozen Cornish Hens; little palm-sized hens around 1 lb of weight, a perfect fit for our mini family. My happiness knew no bound. I bought one of them. Now some people might feel that one Cornish Hen can be consumed by a single person but given our small appetite a single hen is more than enough for two of us.

One thing very few people know about Cornish Hens are that they are tastier than turkey. Given the huge size of turkey, roasting a turkey can be a matter of great expertise and the meat can easily dry up while cooking and taste bland, whereas Cornish Hens are naturally sweet and juicy, they are small and hence they are cooked easily without giving much effort.

The brining
The brining | Source

Brining My Bird

Before cooking my little hen one extra step I did is that I prepared a brine solution and soaked my hen overnight in that solution. Now people may think brining is only required for big birds like turkey, for them my answer is "NO". Whenever you are planning to roast an entire bird try to brine it, no matter what its size is. Brining helps the bird to retain sufficient moisture and prevents it from drying up while getting roasted or grilled.

My brine solution was simple. It only consisted of water, sufficient amount of salt, sugar, red chili powder, chicken stock and parley leaves. This was enough to help my bird retain its flavor as well the right moisture. I carefully avoided using garlic powder or ginger powder because I was going to use them later in my marinade. If I use them both the times it might be possible that the flavors become too strong.

Moreover one thing you have to be careful before brining Cornish Hen is that do not over-brine it. I brined my bird for about 12 hours which is more than enough for a bird of the size of 1 lb. If you over-brine a bird then it may turn too salty. Whereas if you are brining a big turkey, brining it for 1 whole day will definite enhance its taste.

The magic masalas
The magic masalas | Source
All spiced up!
All spiced up! | Source

The Masala Marinade

All spiced up! Well that is my marinade. We all know Indian masalas can be real spicy so I generously used them to make the perfect marinade for my cute little hen. What not is present in my marinade? There are onions, green chili pepper ( I always prefer the serrano pepper for its hotness), cloves of garlic, ginger root, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and then there are the spices of the whole garam masala like the green cardamons, mace, cinnamon stick, and cloves. All these spices are enough to give a hot Indian tadka (read twist)!

Rub the marinade all over the body of the bird, both inside and outside with a dash of oil. Use a little bit of salt and vinegar along with the masala marinade to rub over your hen. Leave your bird to rest for about half an hour before putting it inside the oven.

The roasting
The roasting | Source
Cornish Hen right out of the oven
Cornish Hen right out of the oven | Source

Oven Roasting My Bird

Before I put my bird inside the oven I stuffed the inner cavity of my bird with vegetables like chopped onions, carrots and bell pepper. I also stuffed in the remaining bit of marinade inside the cavity (please make sure that you do not over-stuff things). After stuffing the vegetables and the masala marinade you may tie up the legs of the bird( well I didn't as I forgot that part at that moment). Next you have to rub honey on the skin of the bird. This will help in glazing the bird. Honey will help the bird get a rich color. One thing to be noted here is that keep the skin of the bird intact. Many people hate to consume the skin but if you are planning to roast the bird it is better to keep on the skin. The skin on the bird will help it from drying up. The skin also contains fat so when the bird is being roasted the skin will turn crispy adding a lot of taste to your dish.

Preheat oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit. Start your preheating process when you are marinating your bird (by this way you will save some time). Take an oven tray, put aluminum foil on top. Spray oil on it. Now place chopped vegetables of your choice on the foil. I used broccoli, carrots, green peas, onions and bell pepper. All these vegetables will get cooked at the same time when my hen will get roasted. The juices from my bird will add flavor to these vegetables. Next place an oven rack on top of it. Place the Cornish Hen on top of the rack. Spray some extra oil on top. Before putting it inside the oven sprinkle some parsley leaves on top. Roast your bird for at least 50 minutes to 1 hour or till you see juices are coming out of your bird. You will also notice that the outer texture has changed color and become crispy brown. Bring it out of the oven. Cover the roasted Cornish Hen in aluminum foil for about 10 minutes before serving it out straight.

Please Rate My Recipe

5 stars from 2 ratings of Honey Glazed Masala Cornish Hen

Cook Time

Prep time: 12 hours 30 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 13 hours 30 min
Yields: Serves 2 persons

Ingredients for the Brine

  • 1 Cornish Hen, minus neck and giblets
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 5 tablespoons Salt
  • 3 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Parsley Leaves, dried

Ingredients for Marinade

  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Green Serrano Peppers, cut
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 inch Ginger Root
  • 3 Green Cardamon Pods
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 Mace
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 1 tablespoon Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Parsley Leaves, dried
  • 2 tablespoon Oil

Vegetables Used

For stuffing

  • Carrots, chopped
  • Bell Pepper, diced
  • Onions, sliced

For roasting in tray

  • Carrots, chopped
  • Bell Pepper, diced
  • Onions, sliced
  • Green Peas
  • Broccoli


  1. First you have to prepare the brine solution. To prepare it take a large vessel and pour water, chicken stock, salt, sugar, red chili powder and parsley leaves and boil the entire solution. After boiling the brine solution let it cool down for sometime. Once the solution is cold, submerge the Cornish Hen into the solution and refrigerate it for about 12 hours.
  2. Once you are ready to cook your Cornish Hen, bring out the brined bird. Drain it well. Carefully clean it in running cold water so that no salt is stuck on the outer skin of the bird.
  3. Put spices likes cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, mace, green chili, red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, ginger, garlic and onion inside a mixer and make a fine paste out of these spices.
  4. First rub the bird with salt, vinegar and oil and then apply the spicy marinade generously all over the bird. Leave it marinated for half an hour.
  5. In the meantime preheat oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit. Cut veggies for stuffing and roasting along with the hen. Insert the veggies meant for stuffing inside the cavity of the bird along with leftover marinade. After this you may tie up the legs of the bird so that veggies do not spill out from inside.
  6. Now place a baking tray and cover it with aluminum foil. Spray oil on top. Veggies that ought to be roasted should be placed on the foil. Next place a roasting rack on top of the tray. Place the Hen on it. Rub honey on its body for the glazing effect and give a final spray of oil on it. When the oven is ready, sprinkle some parsley leaves on top of the Hen and insert the tray into the oven.
  7. Roast the bird for about 1 hour or till the juices run clear out of the bird. (It is a small bird so within 1 hour it will get roasted very well). After 1 hour bring out the tray. At first cover the tray with aluminum foil tightly for about 10 minutes. Let the flavors mix in thoroughly. Then you can carve it out and serve to your family.
  8. As sides I prepared jeera rice (cumin rice), garlic mashed potatoes and apple-strawberry yogurt medley. My Masala Cornish Hen tasted terrific along with these sides. Try it and have fun! Happy Feasting!!!
Honey Glazed Masala Cornish Hen with garlic mashed potatoes and Apple-Strawberry yogurt medley
Honey Glazed Masala Cornish Hen with garlic mashed potatoes and Apple-Strawberry yogurt medley | Source
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 Cornish Hen
Calories 296
Calories from Fat81
% Daily Value *
Fat 9 g14%
Saturated fat 2 g10%
Carbohydrates 0 g
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 52 g104%
Cholesterol 233 mg78%
Sodium 138 mg6%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Simple Herb Roasted Cornish Hen Recipe Video

© 2014 Deblina Banerjee


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    • Susan Recipes profile image

      Susan 3 years ago from India

      Wow... This looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing this mouth watering hub. Voted up and 5 stars.