Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rock Cornish Game Hen in Adobo Sauce: Recipe #3 from Nueva Cocina Cooking Class

Here is the 3rd and final recipe from the Saturday morning Nueva Cocina cooking class, Michelle and I took a couple of weeks ago (the other recipes are posted here and here): Rock Cornish Hen in Adobo Sauce.

I had never cooked a Cornish Hen before and was under the naive impression that Cornish game hens were actually a game hen, basically the smaller, distant wild cousin of a chicken or something. I was a bit surprised (and a bit sad) to learn from our instructor that they are a really young chicken (they can't be more than 2 lbs and older than 5-6 weeks old at slaughter--OK now I am really sad!). None the less, we were there, the little chicken was there so covering it in adobo seemed inevitable. The recipe is pretty easy (I can say that because Michelle did all of the chili prep and cooking on this one and I just had to do a little onion & garlic chopping, a bit of basting and an occasional checking on cooking hens).

Rock Cornish Hen in Adobo Sauce
Chef Adriana Torres
4 servings

2 Rock Cornish Game Hens
2 ancho chilies seeded, deveined
1 pasilla chili seeded, deveined
1 guajillo chile, seeded, deveined
1 Tbsp corn oil
1/3 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cinnamon stick
pinch of oregano
1 Tbsp vinegar
sugar to taste
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice

Adobo: Fry the chilies in corn oil until soft (about 30 seconds per side), drain on paper towels and reserve. Using the same oil, saute onion and garlic, add cinnamon and oregano. Bring fried chilies back in the pan. Add chicken broth, orange juice, sugar and vinegar. Stir well. Simmer until chilies are soft (about 25 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

Let mixture cool down and process in blender. Add water if needed. Brush game hens with the adobo sauce. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place basted hen on a sheet pan. Cook for 15 minutes, then reduce to 375 degrees F, and cook for about 25 more minutes, occasionally basting with the adobo sauce (Cook until meat thermometer placed between thigh and breast of hen registers 170 degrees). Let hens rest for 10 minutes before serving. Buen Provecho!

Notes/Results: The photo above is how we carted our little friends home. I wasn't crazy about the adobo sauce when I tasted it before we basted the hens but it really made the meat deliciously spiced, moist and tender. If you are not familiar with the chilies used, Cooks Thesaurus has some good info on chilies here, including substitutes if you can't find the all the chilies in the recipe. I don't know how often I would make Rock Cornish Game Hens but if I did, I would consider making this again--it was tasty.


  1. I am sad too to learn that, but this does look delicious and I haven't had cornish game hen in ages!

  2. No saddness at all Deb, just loads of drooling!

  3. This looks delicious! Yeah, we meat eaters sometimes just can't think about things too much. The adobo sauce sounds fabulous!

  4. I prefer not to think too much or it sends me into a vegetarian spiral. But then I look at the picture and drool and come out of it.

  5. Oh Deb, I'm stealing this recipe. The only other time I've seen such a beautiful crust on the bird has been with beer can chicken. I really want to try this one. Yes, I'll admit it, if the skin is nice and crispy I'll eat it. Hey, it's cooked and can be oh so good. Great post my friend. Hugs.

  6. Looks pretty tasty! I love the colour. One question... can I use my hands to eat it? I am a chicken with her fingers type of gal.
    I didn't know that about cornish game hens either, the name seems misleading. It must have changed at some point in history.

  7. You gals are having too much fun! I want in!

    Those chix look great. I can imagine how good it smelled cooking.

  8. Oh. That's just terribly sad. I always get a sad feeling when we drive down the highway and see the "BEEF, It's what's for dinner" sign with the slab of bloody steak on it... RIGHT ABOVE THE COW PASTURE. I can't eat red meat for days after that. It sucks.

  9. Oh dear, I made an adobo recipe for chicken this summer from one of my cookbooks and it was delicious, but I like your recipe even more and I think it might be the allure of the orange juice! I'll be trying it.

  10. Kat--it was tasty!

    Johanna--lots of drooling! ;-)

    Cathy--yeah, I like to balance being aware but not thinking too much or dwelling on it.

    Prudy--me too!

    Teresa--I hope you like it!

    Natashya--you can use your hands only if you throw the bones over your shoulder when done! ;-)

    Nate-n-Annie--come back and take a class with us! ;-)

    Cat--I know its hard but then the little bird looked and smelled so good...

    Laura--Hope you like it. I may need to do more with adobo--it was good!

  11. Yum! That looks wonderful. We have poussin quite often because it is more manageable for 2 people.


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