Sephardic Moroccan Cornish Hens with Olives and Apricots

By: Marge Perry & David Bonom

Ingredients

1 cup of fresh mint leaves
1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
4 (1 1/2-pound) of Cornish hens
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
2 cups of dried apricots
1 (10-ounce) of jar pimento stuffed Spanish olives

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the mint, cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, coriander and cinnamon in a blender and process until finely chopped; reserve.
  3. Combine the vinegar, chicken broth and brown sugar in a bowl; mix well to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Remove and discard the giblets from the hens then rinse under cold water and pat dry. With a sharp knife split the hens in half lengthwise then season with salt and pepper. Divide the apricots and olives between 2 cookie sheets . Set 4 hen halves, skin side up, on top of the apricots and olives on each pan
  5. Rub the mint mixture evenly over the skin of each hen then gently pour the vinegar mixture over. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes or refrigerate up to 24 hours.
  6. Bake the hens until the juices run clear and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the breast registers 165°F, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Serve the hens with the apricots, olives and pan juices.