Orange Marinated Game Hen

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 

The fruit-filled balsamic reduction sauce stands up very well to the flavor of the hen. The beautiful plating of this dish is sure to please.


3 cups orange juice concentrate
1⁄2 cup white vinegar
1⁄2 cup balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 cup honey
3 shallots, quartered
2 1⁄4 tsp. marjoram
3⁄4 tsp. dried tarragon
3⁄4 tsp. ground ginger
3⁄4 tsp. sage
3⁄4 tsp. cinnamon
3⁄4 tsp. allspice
1 bay leaf
1 1⁄2 gal. water
12 game hens
1⁄2 cup shallots, sliced
2 oz. butter
1 tbsp. molasses
1 cup port wine
3 cups chicken stock
2 cans cherries, whole in syrup, or fresh equivalent
1 1⁄2 cups blueberries
1 bottle of champagne
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. honey
Mashed potatoes, as needed
12 herb bouquets, for garnish


1. In a large container, mix together first 13 ingredients thoroughly. Makes  13⁄4 gal.

2. Marinate hens at least 3 hr. Remove from marinade and place on a hot grill to make vertical marks on the skin, like pin stripes. Then place hen in a covered pan and roast at 350° F until cooked through. Remove from the oven and insert half of a raw potato, flat side down, into the bottom cavity for balance during presentation.

3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, sauté shallots in butter until tender. Add molasses and caramelize. Deglaze the pan with wine and reduce.

4. Add stock, cherries, blueberries, champagne, orange and lemon zest and honey. Reduce by half. Puree reduction and strain. Reserve sauce.

5. Per order: In a small saucepan, reheat a portion of sauce and finish with a pat of butter; reserve warm. Place a round of mashed potatoes in the center of a large plate. Prop hen atop potatoes, sitting upright. Spoon warm sauce over top of the hen and around plate.

6. Place herb bouquet into top cavity of hen and drizzle all with balsamic vinegar reduction syrup, if desired. Place tip of accompanying knife under the wing of the bird, resting the handle on the edge of the plate.

Source: Recipe from Chef Steve Atkins

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