Roast Cornish Game Hens with Pomegranate Sauce

  • Active Time 1h 15m
  • Total Time 16h

8 servings

The recipe looks long, but fear not! The sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead, so there's no last minute angst. The kosher-for-Passover guide published each year by the Orthodox Union in New York is a wonderful source for confirming what foods are allowable during Passover. Although pomegranate juice is not included in the guide, I feel that opening a new jar of pure pomegranate juice is not a violation of Passover injunctions. However, if you are concerned, substitute cranberry juice and some balsamic vinegar to approximate the natural tartness of pomegranate. Pure pomegranate juice is available at middle eastern markets and many health food stores.


  • For the Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups pure pomegranate juice (not pasteurized or sweetened)

  • Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, each cut in half and patted very dry
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 3 Turkish (not California laurel) bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/4 cup matzo cake meal
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Hens:
  • Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 cup pure pomegranate juice (not pasteurized or sweetened)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Turkish (not California laurel) bay leaves, torn coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 8 Cornish game hens (1 3/4 pounds each), rinsed, patted very dry


Spread sugar evenly over bottom of heavy medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar starts to melt in large pools, about 5 minutes. Stir with wooden spoon until sugar is fully dissolved and syrup is deep amber color, about 3 minutes longer. Add 2 1/2 cups broth and 2 1/2 cups pomegranate juice and bring just to boil, scraping up hard caramel bits. Set mixture aside.

Spray a large heavy pot with nonstick spray. Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken wings in batches and sauté until deep brown, about 5 minutes per side, transferring wings to bowl after each batch. Add onions, carrot, celery

and bay leaves to same pot. Sauté until tender and just golden, about 8 minutes. Add remaining 4 cups broth, pomegranate mixture, chicken wings, cinnamon stick and allspice to pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered 1 hour 30 minutes. Strain into large bowl, pressing on solids in strainer. Refrigerate stock overnight.

Spoon all fat off top of stock; reserve fat. Warm stock in microwave. Heat 3 tablespoons reserved fat in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in matzo cake meal, cook 1 minute. Add stock and bring to boil, whisking often. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is reduced to 3 cups, skimming often, about 35 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Can be made 5 days ahead. Cool, cover and chill.

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil; spray with nonstick spray. Blend pomegranate juice, olive oil, bay leaves and allspice in blender until bay leaves are finely chopped for baste. Sprinkle hens inside and out with salt and pepper. Fold wing tips under, if desired. Arrange 4 hens on each prepared sheet. Brush each generously with baste. Roast hens until brown and juices from thigh run clear when pierced with small skewer, brushing occasionally with baste and reversing sheets to opposite rack halfway, about 1 hour. Let stand on sheets 15 minutes.

Rewarm sauce. Place hens on plates; serve with sauce.

Recipes created exclusively for by Selma Elaine Brown.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 4715

nutrition information per serving

846 calories; 48g total fat; 276mg cholesterol; 370mg sodium; 34g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 69g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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