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These Spiced Red Wine Cranberry Glazed Cornish Hens are easy to prepare and extremely flavorful; making them an elegant holiday entrée!
We celebrated our fourth annual Friendsgiving this past weekend and it was as fun and as delicious as ever! I love the tradition of Friendsgiving because once you have been good friends with people for over 10 years, well they become family, and this annual tradition means so much to us.
This year’s Friendsgiving was even more special because our group of friends are celebrating so many major life milestones right now and it was fun talking about how far we have come since this tradition started. There are friends in the process of buying their first home, others that just had their first baby and are bringing up the next generation of friends, and then another in our group who, after many years of hard work and long hours is finally graduating college, the first in his family! Other friends in our group just got a promotion at their job and one friend just celebrated one year owning her own business!
As we sat around our small little dining room table, that we manage to squeeze everyone around, it was so great to look around and reminisce about previous Friendsgivings, as well as dream about where we are all headed.
In addition to having the opportunity to celebrate life with friends that have been there for us through many ups and downs over the past ten years, I love Friendsgiving because while a few traditional Thanksgiving dishes show up at the dinner table, we also try to change it up quite a bit too!
You see, when I hosted our first Friendsgiving all those years ago, several of my friends brought or suggested non-traditional or twists on traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Like instead of my Grandmother’s Cornbread Dressing, I made my now famous Apple Cranberry Stuffing. And instead of pie, I made Country Apple Dumplings and Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting. Then one friend showed up with a platter of grilled veggies, while another friend brought pan of roasted Cornish hens.
After that we decided that in addition to making Friendsgiving an annual tradition that we would make our “non-traditional” Friendsgiving menu a thing too. So every year we each show up in hand with Thanksgiving-ish dishes with a new twist.
The one major “twist” that I love about our Friendsgiving menu is that Cornish hens, instead of turkey, are the star of the show! Not that there is anything wrong with turkey, but there is so much of it this time of year and so the Cornish hens are a great alternative. Plus, there is something so fun and elegant at the same time about a platter full of Cornish hens and that everyone can have their own!
In addition to being a delicious alternative to a traditional turkey or ham during the holidays, I like that Cornish hens are easier to prepared (only about an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish; check out this How to Cook Cornish Hen video to see for yourself!) and only need about a day or so to thaw. To get ready to host our annual Friendsgiving, I ran over to Sam’s Club to stock up on a bunch of our Friendsgiving needs. I grabbed paper goods, veggies, and of course Tyson® All Natural Premium Cornish Hens (which conveniently come in a 6-pack at Sam’s Club, perfect for Friendsgiving)! And if you know me, then you know one of the many reasons I love shopping at Sam’s Club is getting to try all they samples while shopping. Luckily for me, when I was making my Friendsgiving run, they had an in-store demo (as seen above) for Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon, which not only became the wine I picked to pair with our Friendsgiving dinner, it inspired me to change up this year’s Cornish hen recipe and make Spiced Red Wine Cranberry Glazed Cornish Hens!
These Spiced Red Wine Cranberry Glazed Cornish Hens came out absolutely perfect! They were flavorful, tender and juicy and since this cranberry sauce was served as a glaze on top of the Cornish hens; made the platter of hens look even more stunning! And the dark and rich flavors of the Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon paired perfectly with the warm spices and tart tangy cranberries found in the cranberry glaze.
I am a little sad that another Friendsgiving has come and gone but grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate life with good friends while enjoying AMAZING food year after year!
Do you celebrate Friendsgiving? If so, share your own Friendsgiving memories in the comments below!
- 6 Tyson® All Natural Premium Cornish Hens
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon each kosher salt and black pepper
- Spiced Red Wine Cranberry Glaze:
- 1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 navel orange, zested and juiced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove Cornish hens from package and pat dry with a paper towel. Place Cornish hens in a large roasting pan, breast side up. Using kitchen twine, tie Cornish hen legs together at the end.
- Season each Cornish hen with a generous amount of salt and black pepper. Pour melted butter evenly over hens. Roast hens in preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan stir together cranberries, wine, brown sugar, maple syrup, spices, ¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper, and orange juice and zest to form Spiced Red Wine Cranberry Glaze. Bring glaze mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes, or until sauce is thickened and cranberries begin to burst.
- Remove glaze from heat and cool slightly. Transfer cranberry glaze to blender and blend until smooth. Divide cranberry glaze in half and set aside.
- After Cornish hens have cooked for 45 minutes, remove Cornish hens from oven and baste with half of the cranberry glaze. Return Cornish hens to oven and roast for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F when measured with a meat thermometer.
- Once fully cooked, remove hens from the oven and brush with remaining glaze. Tent hens with foil and rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve Cornish hens whole or cut in half with additional cranberry glaze.
Tyson® All Natural Premium Cornish Hens are a simple, affordable and delicious option for holiday entertaining. Stock up on 6 packs of Tyson® All Natural Premium Cornish Hens at Sam’s Club this holiday season (from 10/26-11/20) and receive a $3.75 off with the Sam’s Club Instant Savings booklet offer (offer is unlimited). The dark and rich flavors of the Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon make it a great wine to pair and serve with Tyson® All Natural Premium Cornish Hens for the holiday season. Check out this link to find a Tyson® Cornish Hen + Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon Sam’s Club demo near you on 11/19/16.