It’s officially Holiday time and Thanksgiving is here. I can hardly believe it.
So far, fall has been wonderful. It’s been full of great weather, lovely falling leaves, which I enjoy staring at from my home office, and plentiful holiday recipes and planning to consider.
While Atlanta is “home” for me 70% of the time, there’s nothing like home, especially during the season that brings crisp temperatures. I wasn’t going to go to Virginia this Thursday, but when Mami calls in her jovial voice and borderline begs me to come, I can’t resist.
How could I?
That’s all I really need to put a dent into my plans of staying here to cook for clients that put in a request. Family first, right? But, not only does a trip to VA put a dent in my plans of house-hopping two days from now, it also means that I have to organize my scattered thoughts and concentrate on what I am going to make for dinner en casa de mami.
In past year’s, I’ve always committed to making candied yams (a great recipe I got 12 years ago from my brother’s piano teacher), French green beans, rosemary red skin mashed potatoes and cornbread dressing (or stuffing). All those are far from being Cuban or even Latin dishes so they add a great mashup next to all the Cuban staples Mami makes. Honestly, the menu is predictable but it’s always on point and consistently delicious. At the end of the day that’s what matters to everyone at our table.
All 20 of us.
But this year, my new writing gigs have created new experiences and allowed me to cook things that appeal to the respective publication’s audience. Sometimes they coincide and compliment my cooking style; other times they are on polar sides of the world. Awesome.
Guess what that means? I’ll be cheerfully editing down my menu and adding new things to the dinner table this year. Change is good, especially when it means culinary expansion. It won’t be an easy feat, I admit. My family is very Cuban. Very Latino. They like things a certain way and everyone, including life-long American (non-Latino) friends that share the evening with us, expect a certain experience coming out of the H kitchen.
They all know how my mom throws down and they all want it just like she plans.
But, I’m about to show out and keep them quiet for about 90 seconds while they bite and experience my tasty creations. I won’t lie and say that a Latin influence won’t be injected, but the dominant theme will be what I call ‘fancy eclectic.’ That includes some southern flare–you know, tastes I’ve acquired in Atlanta.
While thinking about what my new signature dish could be, I remembered having cooked a fabulous and ultra aromatic cornish hen for an ex-boyfriend back in 1998. Yes, 12 years ago. I thought I was so grown and made this guy (whom actually orders flan from me today!) a sexy Thanksgiving dinner. Dinner for just the two of us.
And it was great.
Why not try it again? It’s been that long since I’ve played with the small chick and it could only be 10 times better now. So, Latina Magazine asked me to come up with a turkey alternative recipe for this week’s column.
¡Fabuloso! What a perfect assignment.
I made my little bird with a fresh perspective and approach. I was aiming for herbal aromas, textures and juiciness. I’m not a huge fan of turkey because of its likely bland and dry nature. And, truthfully it has entirely too much white meat for me. And so does the hen, but reversing that all came down to the way I was going to season it.
Okay, so it had to have a Latin twist. Check. The question was what was I going to do to make it sing!
Well, I let my hair down, thought about how excited Latina readers were going to be and better yet how my dad is going to be licking his fingers come Thursday and went to work.
Imagine this: mojo, a classic seasoning in Latin cuisine, sage (buttery, aromatic and minty), oranges, cranberries and pecans. Can you smell it? Can you taste the meat?
Oh wait, and with a medley of mini potatoes for added color!
I dare say it was tear-jerker. A happy moment. I have reconnected with one of my first intimate cooking moments.
This time, 12 years later, my new friend and I thoroughly enjoyed my 2010 and highly sophisticated version of my cornish hen! Savory, sweet, herbal, smooth and with a light crunch.
That’s something to be thankful for!
Tired of turkey? Try this succulent, robust and layered texture bird. He’s really good!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving, filled with joy, happiness, food, family, friends and sexy shoes!
I’ll have mine on all night!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
Follow the sexy & delicious fun on
Citrus Mojo & Sage Infused Cornish Hen With Candied Pecans.
- 1 cup citrus mojo (pre-made), parted
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 5 cloves garlic, mashed
- 6 sage leaves
- 1 large navel orange, parted (1/2 in hen)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dry oregano
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. dry white cooking wine
- 1 sprig rosemary (for garnish)
Untie wings from hen. Remove heart and gizzards from inside cavity. Remove excess fat around legs. Rinse hen and pat dry. Place hen on large plate. Stuff hen with 2 cloves of garlic, 2 wedges of 1/2 orange, 2 sage leaves and 2 tablespoons of mojo. Flip hen right side up. Pour remaining mojo, making sure to cover bird. Rub garlic, cumin, oregano and salt throughout. Sprinkle cooking wine on top. Place 4 sage leaves on top and sides of hen. Cover and let marinade in fridge for one to two hours.
Heat oil in large dutch oven. Using tongs, place hen onto pan. Brown on each side until golden brown, approximately 5-6 minutes each. Using tongs, remove orange wedges from inside cavity and squeeze onto hen. Pour mojo seasoning and herbs into pot and squeeze remaining orange. Cover and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes. Uncover lid and add dried cranberries. Cover and let simmer for 10 additional minutes. Remove hen from pot and set aside.
For caramelized pecan glaze
Add butter to non-stick pan and bring heat to medium. Stir in pecans. Cook until they begin to toast. Add brown sugar and stir for 2 minutes until it begins to lightly bubble. Lower heat and add cranberry juice. Stir until mix begins to thicken, approximately 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
69 thoughts on “Citrus Mojo & Sage Infused Cornish Hen With Candied Pecan Glaze”
That Cornish hen ahas a lot of mojo! A wonderful dish.
Ah, can’t wait to sink my teeth on one of these come Thanksgiving Day. Both the recipe and the pics are succulently attractive; I can almost smell and taste the bird … and the rest. Great post! Keep it up!
se ve espectacular………como me gusta todo lo que haces…es increible como conviertes la comida latina en gurmet……felicidades
What time is dinner? I’m programming my GPS right now!
The pics are so vivid!
Everything looks so delicious girl..I cant wait to try it out 🙂
Bren, your cornish hen looks absolutely delicious…love the fruity flavor and the candied pecan are just a great add to it…the pictures are awesome 🙂
This looks absolutely delicious!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
This year we’re doing Cornish Hens – Latin style baby!
Yum, your cornish hens look divine! I love your Caribbean twist.
Rosa: Yes it does, girl. That’s how we do. I would have made my own, but i didn’t have time! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! I can’t wait to read what you have going on!
David: Yes! I’ll be making one just for you! I know you’ll love it!
Silvia: ay, gracias. me da mucho gusto poder hacer nuestra comida en estilo in poco mas fancy!
AJ: Well, uhm, my dad told me he wants to do an al fresco dinner around 4. Works for me! Just bring some pie.
Lys: Thanks! Love my new cam! 🙂
LaJMoon: Gracias, chica.. esta super delicioso! Si lo haces, let me know!
Juliana: Thanks, sweetie. It was great fun making him under so much pressure and time constraint… the combo works tremendously well! Happy bird day to you!
Dimah: Thank you! Is this your first time here! If so, welcome!
Anarnia: Yeah girl! Get it in!
JehanP: Thank you. I’m flattered by all the nicety’s but it tastes even better!! Cheers!
YES!!! We have a winner! I had the privilege of eating this HEN with Bren and its delicious. The perfect blend of spices. Also the glazed pecans are INCREDIBLE! I can’t believe she came up with this off the top of her head. AMAZING!!!
Have a warm and generous Thanksgiving bren. We have so much to be thankful for.
This dish looks incredible…
Perfectly executed cornish hen. Amazing flavor profile. I am not a turkey person, I went with oven roast chicken myself, but would love this bird.
Te la comiste!
Dullah: glad you got to enjoy, my eater! lucky you, eh! I wish i had someone cooking for me like that, but i sure am glad to share!
Val: Lovely, I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving. It was fabulous in this crazy Cuban house! As always!
Rev. Lee: It was. When are you coming over for some!
Lazaro: esto si fue unas de mis favoritos platos de cocinar, especialmente por que todo fue de tira en tira sin receta. todo quedo exquisite, la verdad! 🙂 Thank you for appreciating the flavors and complexity! Espero que you had a great Thanksgiving.
Food and recipe looks GREAT! Wish I would have been able to “gobble” it up. lol
You’ll have to make it while you are still up here.. say Friday night???
Looks so good a vegetarian might take the plunge and try it!!:)
Have to revisit this for the Holidays. My, My.
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