Coat the measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring honey, and it will slip out easily. Red pepper adds kick to the glaze.
2 (1 1/4-pound) Cornish hens
1 teaspoon thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
1/4 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 425°.
To prepare hens, remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Remove skin; trim excess fat. Split hens in half lengthwise. Combine thyme, salt, black pepper, and 2 minced garlic cloves. Rub surface of hens with thyme mixture.
To prepare glaze, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 minced garlic clove, and cook 1 minute. Add cranberries, juice, honey, cinnamon, and red pepper; bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes or until slightly syrupy.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add hens, breast side down; cook 3 minutes. Place hens, breast side up, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Brush hens with half of glaze. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°, brushing occasionally with remaining glaze.
Wine note: Both game birds and cranberry sauce are terrific partners for pinot noir. Because pinot noir has an earthy, sweet character, it perfectly highlights the meaty sweetness of a roasted bird. At the same time, pinot noir's good acidity is just the ticket as a complement to the cranberries. Try La Crema Pinot Noir 2004 from Russian River Valley, California ($29). -Karen MacNeil