Roasted Cornish Hens with Cranberry Miso Glaze

Posted by Alyssa Boicel on

 Christmas is here and as an American expat during the time of Corona, going home for the holidays proves to be more and more difficult. Between arranging flights and booking PCR tests, I like many have decided to stay home for the holidays avoiding the headache of air travel. Although this means less family dinners and more restaurant outings, I am still finding ways to make mini versions of my favorite meals for the holidays.  

Here is a recipe that I originally made for Thanksgiving that is easy to make and perfect for a Christmas dinner for few. These roasted Cornish hens are covered in a sweet and savory cranberry glaze thickened with creamy red miso, which makes for a wonderful gravy. Since fresh cranberries are harder to find in the local supermarkets of Barcelona, I used dried cranberries. FYI, if you are looking for ready-made cranberry sauce, it is best to hit up Taste-of-America (a popular chain selling all our favorite items from back home.)

Although I used a homemade broth made with roasted chicken carcasses, garlic, and sage, a store-bought poultry broth will also work. I like to soak the Cornish hens in the broth overnight to brine the meat, but you can also simmer the hens in broth for about 30 minutes to an hour to speed up the time. We caramelize this dish first to infuse the flavour before putting in the oven on low heat. Once finished, you will be caroling about how tasty and easy this dish was to make!


Overnight Time Prep Time Cook Time Total Time



4 Cornish Hens

¼ cup of dried cranberries

3 tablespoons of brown sugar

2 twigs of rosemary

5 shallots

2 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon of red miso

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper



Chicken Carcass

3 Cloves of garlic

2 twigs of sage



  1. If you are making your home broth, roast the chicken carcasses, garlic (with skins) and sage on 200 C (375 F) for 40 minutes. After the 40 minutes, submerge all the roasted ingredients in four cups of water and set to simmer for an hour.

  2. If you decide to use store-bought broth, submerge the raw chicken hens in a container with the broth adding one tablespoon of salt. Cover the container and store in the fridge overnight.


  1. After one night or five hours, take out the Cornish hens. On a stove, place a pot big enough to hold all the hens on medium heat. (Make sure the oven is set to 300 F (150 C)) Add the butter, brown sugar, and cranberries to the pot while heating.

  2. While the butter and sugar is melting, take half a cup of the broth and mix in the miso in a small bowl then add to the caramel. Add the salt and pepper, if necessary, after tasting.

  3. Once the sauce starts to thicken, add the hens, peeled shallots, and rosemary. Start stirring the hens carefully coating each hen with glaze.

  4. After 10 minutes of stirring, cover the pot and place in the oven on low heat for the next hour.


After an hour, you can check the hens by cutting into the leg to check if it is still pink. If it is then cook for another 30 minutes until the flesh of the legs are white. Since we have such succulent hens and a glossy glaze, I decided to serve it on top of a potato purée with a side of roasted radishes.



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