Cornish Hens Marbella

Cornish Hens Marbella are Spanish  inspired spatchcocked game hens based on the  classic Silver Palate recipe using chicken.
Cornish Hens Marbella

Cornish Hens Marbella

By Sue  Lau | Palatable Pastime

Cornish  Hens Marbella is my  recipe  of the day with the  blogging group Sunday Funday. We group once weekly to post on varying topics which the rotating host selects.

It’s my turn  to host so I  opted for posting recipes for holiday dinners which are  not the usual turkey or ham. In case someone is tired of those or looking for a secondary  entree to go with.

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Cornish Hens Marbella

I had been mulling my  options since the markets were light on beef and lamb choices I would have liked and the  pork loin was a bit gigantic for just the two of  us.

I was picking  up some sale ad items  from Aldi  when I spotted the Cornish hens in the freezer and knew it was perfect. I’ve done several  recipes for those before.

Inspired by the Silver Palate

Having recently read someone making   comments on a Chicken Marbella recipe recently (they were  complaining that some ingredients weren’t authentically Italian)(this is NOT an Italian recipe) but oh heck, I realized I had never made this recipe.

And it’s pretty famous. So why not. Lukins calls for ten  pounds  of  chickens (nope!) Like I said, it’s the two of us. So I divvied the marinade in half which really should have been a third but it was fine.


I did forget to add the (excessive amount in my opinion  anyway) of dried oregano and I never missed it. The prunes are actually quite good in this.  Not very  pruny (if you know what I mean) and the larger caper berries are great. The sauce was a lot but I didn’t serve it  anyway. I didn’t want it running all over the plate.

I was a bit  worried at  the sugar amount but  it is not  excessively sweet. Hens were moist and juicy and I served them with mushroom rice (I’ll  share that recipe later). I hope you enjoy this version of the Silver Palate classic.

Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday

Holiday Dinners that are not Turkey or Ham

Cornish Hens Marbella

Cornish Hens Marbella

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Cornish Hens Marbella

Cornish Hens Marbella

Sue Lau
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 49 mins
Marination 6 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Spanish
Servings 4
Calories 776 kcal


  • 2 22 ounces each Cornish game hens
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley


  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 8 dried pitted prunes
  • 1/4 cup large caper berries
  • 1/4 cup pimento stuffed green olives
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup caper brine
  • 1/4 cup olive brine


  • Rinse birds and pat dry.
  • Spatch-cock by using kitchen shears to cut out the backbone on either side of the spine. Remove the back and discard or save to make stock later.
  • Turn birds over and press flat, then use a chef's knife to cut the bird into halves.
  • Season them with salt and black pepper.
  • Combine the ingredients for the marinade and add to the hens and marinate for 6 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Remove the hens from the marinade and place them skin side up in an oblong casserole dish.
  • Arrange the bits of olives and things around them.
  • Stir the remaining marinade with the wine and pour this around the hens into the bottom of the casserole.
  • Sprinkle birds with extra black pepper and also the brown sugar.
  • Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes or until the internal temp at the thigh is 165F.
  • Allow the hens to rest out of the oven for 15 minutes to finish raising the temp.


From the kitchen of The original recipe calls for serving them with pan juices, but I did not. I just plated with the olives, prunes and capers. Discard the bay leaves of course. That recipe also called for dried oregano which I forgot to add but did not miss. Make your own decision there. That recipe also did not include olive or caper brine in the marinade which I added and enjoyed.


Calories: 776kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 40gFat: 47gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 227mgSodium: 1441mgPotassium: 785mgFiber: 2gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 621IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 86mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Silver Palate inspired recipe
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Cornish Hens Marbella

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