Orange Cornish Hens for Rosh Hashana - Easy

This is one of my fall-back fail-safe recipes.  I make it all-year 'round because it is easy.  I also serve it to company because they (the hens) look so elegant that they (the guests) will think you cooked all day. 

My copy of the recipe is around 20 years old.  But the recipe must be popular since the original can still be found at the Golden Blossom Honey site.  

As an alternative, you can substitute a chicken, quartered or in eighths (skins on).  Place the orange slices and garlic cloves in the roasting pan then lay the chicken parts over them.  After the step where the heat is lowered to 350F, roast for only 15-30 minutes longer.

Orange Cornish Hens
adapted from Golden Blossom Honey 
serves 4

1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange rind (optional, but more intense flavor with it)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
2 Tbl. margarine, melted
2 cornish game hens, about 1- 1 1/2 lbs. each
4 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
1 orange, cut into quarters (with peel)
cooked rice
Preheat oven to 450F. 

In a small bowl, whisk together first 7 ingredients. Set aside. 

Using paper towels, blot hens dry (so it roasts rather than steams).  Place 2 garlic cloves and 2 orange sections in each hen cavity. Set hens on rack over roasting pan.  Place pan in oven and roast for 15 minutes.  Open oven door and carefully baste hens with some of the honey-orange juice glaze.

Close oven door; reduce heat to 350F.  Roast hens approximately 30-45 minutes longer, basting every 15 minutes with glaze mixture, until hens are golden brown and juices run clear when pierced.

If desired, hens may be placed in the broiler for an additional 2-3 minutes to further carmelize the glaze (watch carefully to prevent the glaze from burning).

Move hens to cutting board.  Using kitchen shears, carefully split hens in half lengthwise.  Serve one half to each person along with rice, plus another vegetable if desired.