Cornish Hen with Pomegranate, Honey and Roasted Almonds

by Rafih Benjelloun

This recipe comes to TableFare from Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page as part of their contribution to Spice Inspirations.

"A guest in a Moroccan household will receive the best portions of everything and will be expected to eat until he or she is satiated. Plenty of food should be left over, however, demonstrating that the host was well-prepared."
— Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, in The New American Chef

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
5 Cornish hens (about 1 pound each) cut into quarters
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
Generous pinch of saffron threads
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
11/2 cups honey
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup raisins
1 cup roasted almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Heat the olive oil in a large casserole. Saute the onions until browned.

Add the Cornish hens, parsley, saffron, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt to taste, pepper, and water. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until the juices of the thigh run clear when pierced.

Remove the Cornish hens from the casserole. Add the honey, pomegranate juice and raisins to the casserole and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Arrange the Cornish hens on a big platter and spoon the sauce over. Garnish with the almonds and sesame seeds and serve immediately.  (Recommended accompaniments:  couscous and grilled vegetables)

Reprinted with permission from the book The New American Chef by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. Copyright 2003 by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.