Cornish Hen with Tart Cherry Sauce


This was an idea I had for a long time but never got around to doing it and it came out fantastic couldn't have hoped for better. My wife and I loved it. The tart cherries complement the flavorful rub on the hen perfectly. For golden brown crispy skin increase temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for last 10 minutes of cooking.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 50 mins
4 servings


  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

  • teaspoon paprika

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 Cornish game hens

  • ½ cup white wine

  • 1 (15 ounce) can tart cherries, drained

  • 1 ½ cups red wine

  • ¼ cup pulp-free orange juice

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, or as needed


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. Combine sea salt, black pepper, thyme, garlic powder, rosemary, and paprika in a bowl. Place hens on a baking sheet and evenly brush with 5 tablespoons butter. Rub hens with spice mixture.

  3. Bake hens in preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 1 1/2 hours, basting every 1/2 hour with white wine. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C).

  4. Mix cherries, red wine, orange juice, and brown sugar in a saucepan; bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in 2 tablespoons butter, and cook until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle flour into the sauce; whisk until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle cherry sauce over cooked hens.

Cook's Note:

If hens don't yield enough juice as mine did initially, a combination of about 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup white wine can be used to add basting fluid.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

646 Calories
41g Fat
20g Carbs
27g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 646
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 41g 53%
Saturated Fat 19g 93%
Cholesterol 204mg 68%
Sodium 531mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 11mg 55%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 9mg 49%
Potassium 580mg 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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