Maple-glazed Cornish hens with spinach and pear

Total Time
1 hr 5 min
20 min
45 min
Cornish hens are one of those dishes that seems intimidating, but you’ll discover they really aren’t as hard to prepare as they appear. These hens are spatchcocked, or flattened, so that they cook more quickly and brown nicely. They sit on top of the sweet and crunchy spinach, pear, and pecan mixture, which benefits from the flavor dripping down from the birds. The best way to test the Cornish hens for doneness is inserting an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. Once it reads 165°F, they’re ready. The result is a sophisticated meal that’s fancy enough for a dinner party


Maple syrup

4 tsp

Unsalted butter

2 tsp, melted

Chopped frozen spinach

10 oz, thawed and squeezed dry


1 large, Bosc varitey, peeled, cored, and diced

Chopped pecans

2 Tbsp

Uncooked shallot(s)

1 item(s), finely chopped

Table salt

¾ tsp

Ground nutmeg

¼ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp

Uncooked skinless Cornish hen

4 oz, 2 (1 1/4-pound) Cornish hens, giblets removed


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray large rimmed baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon maple syrup, remaining 1 teaspoon butter, spinach, pear, pecans, shallot, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in medium bowl. Divide spinach mixture into 2 mounds in center of prepared pan, spacing 2 inches apart.
  3. With kitchen scissors, cut down along both sides of backbone of each hen and discard backbones. Flatten hens and place each hen, skin sides up, on top of spinach mixture. Brush hens with maple-syrup mixture. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh registers 165°F, about 45 minutes.
  4. Serve hens with spinach mixture. Remove skin before eating.
  5. Serving size: 1/2 stuffed hen and 1/2 cup spinach mixture