Moroccan Cornish Hens

Photo: Howard L. Puckett; Styling: Cathy Muir

Make the paste and marinade the day before; marinate the hens the day of the party.

Yield: 8 servings
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 412
  • Calories from fat: 23%
  • Fat: 10.5g
  • Saturated fat: 2.7g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 2.1g
  • Protein: 35.5g
  • Carbohydrate: 46.9g
  • Fiber: 8.3g
  • Cholesterol: 101mg
  • Iron: 3.5mg
  • Sodium: 1198mg
  • Calcium: 111mg


  • 4 large oranges, sliced
  • 2 cups whole pitted dates (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 (1 1/2-pound) Cornish hens
  • Paste:
  • 2 cups cilantro sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed olives
  • Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala
  • 1/4 cup honey


  1. Arrange orange slices in 2 (13 x 9-inch) baking dishes, and sprinkle evenly with dates.
  2. Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens with cold water; pat dry. Remove skin, and trim excess fat. Split hens in half lengthwise. Place hen halves, meaty side up, on top of dates.
  3. Prepare paste: Place cilantro in a food processor; pulse 4 times or until coarsely chopped. Add cardamom, cumin, coriander, and garlic, and process until finely chopped. Pat cilantro mixture onto hens; arrange olives around hens.
  4. Prepare marinade: Combine vinegar, wine, and honey; stir well with a whisk until well-blended. Place in refrigerator for up to two days, if desired.
  5. Slowly pour marinade over hens. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 2 to 24 hours, basting once with the vinegar mixture.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°.
  7. Uncover hens, and bake at 350° for 1 hour and 25 minutes or until juices run clear, basting occassionally with the vinegar mixture. Shield wings with foil, if needed.
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