Mojo Marinated Cornish Hens

Mojo Marinated Cornish Hens

These Mojo Marinated Cornish Hens are a fun way to change-up your dinner routine. Instead of roasting a whole chicken, try these little hens instead. The mojo marinade infuses great flavor and the presentation is just adorable.

 

We serve the Cornish hens with yellow rice and black beans to keep the rest of dinner prep really simple, yet delicious! Enjoy.​​

 

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Ingredients

4 Cornish Hens (about 16 to 20 ounces each)
1 Head of Garlic, peeled and smashed
1½ cups Sour Orange Juice (or oranges and limes)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Oregano, dried
¼ teaspoon Cumin
1 Bay Leaf
2½ – 3 teaspoons Salt, divided

 

You will also need:

2 Large zip top bags

1 Large baking sheet

1 Large cooling rack to line the baking sheet

Cooking twine

 

Cook’s notes: This meal takes a little planning ahead. Cornish hens usually come frozen, defrost them in the refrigerator completely before marinating (about 24 hours). Plus, it’s best if the Cornish hens marinate in the mojo overnight.

 

Make the mojo marinade

If you’re making your own sour orange juice: combine 1 cup of orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed) and ½ cup lime juice. Stir or shake the juice to combine well.

  • Peel and smash the garlic cloves.
  • Add the garlic and ½ teaspoon of salt to a mortar and pestle.
  • Work the garlic until you break it down into small flat pieces.
  • Add the smashed garlic, sour orange juice, olive oil, oregano, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and the bay leaf to a medium bowl or jar. Stir or shake to combine well.
  • Let the marinade sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, a couple of hours is better. Shake or stir well before using.

 

Marinate the Cornish hens

Using 2 large plastic zip-top bags: place 2 Cornish Hens in each bag. Divide the marinade evenly between the bags. Close the zip top bags tightly and place them on a baking sheet or pan, just in case the bag leaks.

 

Marinate the hens in the refrigerator overnight. Turn the bag a few times so that each side of the hens get a chance to sit in the marinade.

 

Roast the mojo marinated Cornish hens

Remove the Cornish hens from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350°F

 

Remove the hens from the zip top bags and arrange them, breast side up on a large baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. Pick off any stray pieces of garlic. The garlic will burn with the long cooking time and will become bitter. Discard the leftover marinade.

 

Add a pinch of salt to the inside of each Cornish hen, and a pinch on the outside. Truss the legs with cooking twine and tuck the wings under the hens.

 

Roast the Cornish hens for about 60 – 75 minutes, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork or knife and the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh and breast registers at least 165°F on an instant read thermometer.

 

The cooking time will depend on the size of the hens. Smaller hens will cook faster than larger one. Adjust the cooking time accordingly. Use an instant read thermometer to ensure the proper internal temperature.

 

A note about sour oranges:

Sour oranges are used in chicken and pork marinades, and in many mojo recipes. During the latter part of the year, near the Christmas season, many Latin markets will stock sour oranges. If you can find sour oranges, slice them in half and juice.

 

If you can’t get sour oranges, because they’re not available in your area or they’re not season, then make your own. Combine orange juice (fresh squeezed is preferable) and lime juice at a 2:1 ratio. Two parts orange juice to one part lime juice, shake or stir to combine well.

 

The alternative is bottled sour orange juice, which is not really made with sour oranges (more like grapefruit juice and other citrus); however, it will still get that sour and sweet taste we’re looking for. Sour orange juice can be found in the international section of most large grocery stores, or find sour orange juice online.

 

Here we serve the Cornish hens with yellow rice and black beans, delicious!

A whole Cornish hen served on a green plate with yellow rice and black beans.

 

You may also like these recipes:

Mojo Marinated Grilled Chicken

Grilled Pork Chops with Mojo Marinade

Cuban Roast Pork

 

A whole Cornish hen served on a large green plate with yellow rice and a bowl of black beans in the background.
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Mojo Marinated Cornish Hens

Instead of roasting a whole chicken, try these little hens instead. The mojo marinade infuses great flavor and the presentation is just adorable.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Marinating12 hrs
Total Time13 hrs 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: cornish hens, mojo marinade
Servings: 4
Calories: 954kcal
Author: Elizabeth

Ingredients

  • 4 Cornish Hens about 16 to 20 ounces each
  • 1 Head of Garlic peeled and smashed
  • cups Sour Orange Juice or oranges and limes
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano dried
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2½ - 3 teaspoons Salt divided

Instructions

  • You will also need: 2 large zip top bags, 1 large baking sheet, 1 large cooling rack to line the baking sheet, kitchen twine
  • If you’re making the sour orange juice: combine 1 cup of orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed) and ½ cup lime juice. Stir or shake the juice to combine well.
  • Add the garlic and ½ teaspoon salt to a mortar and pestle. Work the garlic until you break it down into small flat pieces.
  • Add the smashed garlic, sour orange juice, olive oil, oregano, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and the bay leaf to a medium bowl or jar.
  • Stir or shake to combine well. Let the marinade sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, a couple of hours is better. Shake or stir well before using.

Marinate the Cornish Hens

  • Use 2 large zip top bags: Place 2 Cornish hens in each bag. Divide the marinade evenly between the bags. Close the bags tightly and place them on a baking sheet or pan, just in case the bags leak. Refrigerate the hens overnight. Turn the bag a few times so each side sits in the marinade.

Bake the Cornish Hens

  • Remove the Cornish hens from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Remove the hens from the zip top bags and arrange them, breast side up on a baking sheet lined with a rack/cooling rack. Remove any stray pieces of garlic. Discard the leftover marinade.
  • Add a pinch of salt to the inside of each Cornish hen, and a pinch on the outside. Truss the legs with cooking twine and tuck the wings under the hens.
  • Roast the Cornish hens for about 60 – 75 minutes, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork or knife and the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh and breast registers at least 165°F on an instant read thermometer.

Notes

This meal takes a little planning ahead because it’s best if the Cornish hens marinate in the mojo overnight. Also, Cornish hens usually come frozen, defrost them in the refrigerator completely before marinating (about 24 hours).
The cooking time will depend on the size of the hens. Smaller hens will cook faster than larger one. Adjust the cooking time accordingly. Use an instant read thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh and breast registers at least 165°F.

Nutrition

Calories: 954kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 78g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 455mg | Sodium: 857mg | Potassium: 1248mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 672IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 4mg
The nutritional information above is computer generated and is only an estimate. There is no guarantee that it is accurate.This data is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.

 



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