For special dinners, particularly around the holidays, our minds often go to “beefy” dishes like prime rib.  But for something a little different, perhaps lighter, and way more budget-friendly, I recommend today’s Cornish hen recipe.
Who doesn’t love a comforting roast chicken? But to many of us, it sounds a bit too common fare. I think it be so much more!
In this Cornish hen recipe, a flavor-packed Mediterranean garlic spice rub transforms the humble hens to a new level of delicious. The star of this wet spice rub is fresh garlic (a lot of it) with lime juice and spices like hot paprika, allspice and nutmeg.  For best flavor, the trick is to get the spice rub into every part of the Cornish hens, especially underneath the skin.

· 2 celery sticks, cleaned and chopped in large pieces
· 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
· 1 lime or lemon, juice of
· 4 Cornish hens (roughly 1 lb to 1.5 lb each)
· 2 cup chicken broth


· 15-20 garlic cloves
· Salt
· 2 1/2 tsp hot or sweet paprika
· 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
· 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
· 1 tsp ground black pepper
· 1/2 tsp nutmeg
· 1 lemon or lime, juice of
· 2 tbsp Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Combine the garlic spice rub ingredients in food processor. Run the processor until you achieve a pasty spice mixture or rub.

3. Now to each of the hens, apply the spice rub generously on the outside and in the cavities. Lift the skins and apply the spice rub underneath (this is the key to flavor).

4. Heat a lightly-oiled cast iron grill or skillet. Turn the the heat to medium-high and brown each of the hens on all sides. Set the hens aside momentarily to cool.

5. Once the hens are cool enough to handle, stuff each hen’s cavity with the chopped onions and celery. Now squeeze juice of one lime or lemon on the hens. Add all the used lime or lemon halves in with the onion and celery stuffing. Sprinkle each hen lightly with a dash of seasoned salt, if you like.

6. Place the spiced hens in a large cast iron skillet or a roasting pan. Add two cups of good chicken broth.

7. Bake in the 425 degrees F heated-oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the hen juices run clean, basting every 15 minutes with the broth. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil for 15 minutes before serving.

8. Enjoy with sides like roasted Greek potatoes and fattoush salad.

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