Orange-Ginger Glazed Cornish Hens and “Eat Your Veggies” Orzo

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This Cornish Hen recipe from October 2002 Cooking Light magazine is a favorite. I think the glaze would be good on boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, too, but I haven’t tried it.

The orzo recipe comes from my best friend’s hubby, who makes it regularly for their family. I added the red bell pepper, which isn’t in his original recipe, mostly just because I had some on hand.

Alan’s (“Eat Your Veggies”) Orzo

12 ounces orzo (rice-shaped) pasta
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
a little minced onion
(Around 2 Tbsp. to 1/4 cup – just to your taste. I used red onion, but white would be fine, too.)
about a cup (or a little more) chopped baby carrots
one half of a red bell pepper, diced
about 3 cups chicken stock
about 2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
about 1/4 cup (or a little less) freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese

Saute the orzo in the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring and tossing constantly, until lightly golden brown and toasted.

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Lower heat to medium. Add garlic, onion and carrots and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until onion is translucent and carrots have softened slightly. Add red bell pepper and cook for about 2 more minutes.

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Turn heat to medium-low and gently stir in the chicken stock, about 1/4 cup at a time, until pasta is al dente. This could take 2 minutes or 10, depending upon how hot your pan is, how large your orzo is, etc, so the best way to determine if the pasta is done is to taste it (using a clean spoon each time you taste). When the pasta is getting very close to done, gently stir in the spinach and another splash of chicken stock. Finish cooking until spinach is wilted and pasta tastes right. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.

You can add a little freshly ground pepper or a dash of your favorite all-purpose seasoning or herb, if you’d like a little more flavor. It’s not absolutely necessary, but if you’re feeling it needs a little more “kick”, go right ahead.

3 thoughts on “Orange-Ginger Glazed Cornish Hens and “Eat Your Veggies” Orzo”

  1. I am making this for dinner now….looks yummy, I just hope my kids don’t turn up their noses at it! 🙂 Will let you know………

  2. Sorry, anonymous was me, Trish. I made this for dinner and I can’t believe it…all of my kids LOVED it!!!! Tell Alan KUDOS on the orzo. I can’t believe my kids ate spinach and didn’t even ask “what’s the green stuff” with turned up noses. They just ate it, in fact gobbled it down and ask for seconds. Now, the hens, HOW EASY!! I typically am not a big fan of ginger, but thought I would give it a try. Perfect, not too gingerie (I know it is not really a word..only in “Trishland”). I did take the meat off the bone for my little one’s because I think girl would have FREAKED. Great job on this meal…it will be a staple in my house.
    Trish

    PS…it is so good, I have an assembly line going of them, I am making one severing sizes and taking them to our wounded soldiers at the BAMC, the military hospital in San Antonio.

  3. Wow, Trish – thanks! I’m so glad that your kiddos liked it. I definitely understand about taking the meat off the bone – I have to do that for my Girl, too (even though she’s 12)! To make it even more “kid friendly” next time, I’m going to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs so that it doesn’t “look” like a chicken and doesn’t require all of the tricky meat removal. Cutting the hens in half is kind of a pain in the neck, too, but I think it’s worth it for the “wow” presentation when serving it for adults.

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