Cornish Hens With Pomegranate Molasses

Cornish Hens With Pomegranate Molasses

Pomegranate molasses has become one of my favorite new condiments.  If you know me, you know I’m borderline obsessed with strange and obscure condiments as well as all the usual suspects.  It’s fantastic to be able to pump out some fresh cocktail sauce for some quick poached shellfish.  Got some leftover?  Mix it with some asian mayonnaise for a wedge salad.

Mixing various condiments is the closest I can get to being a mad scientist.  Many condiments are must haves for sauces.  And sauces are my specialty.  Sauce is the binding that can make or break a dish.  And who doesn’t love sauce?  There’s bread mopping sauce, cream sauce, gravies, cheese sauces, pasta sauces, fruit sauces, curries, chutneys, and on and on.  And on.  Salad dressing!  I can’t believe I forgot that one.

As you all know by now, I live in food obscurity~ville.  The best pizza shop here closes at 6pm on a Saturday.  What?!  Sushi is heavily laden with tempura, sticky sweet sauces, and cream cheese and no one has ever heard of yuzu.  The one Indian restaurant includes a buffet of brown gloopy stuff.  The Chinese food is likewise full of fried sweet offerings and there isn’t a dim sum option for hundreds of miles.  You get my point.

I have to drive an hour one way to shop for basics I need just to make dinner.  Sometimes, I have to order things online because even the more food sophisticated stores an hour away don’t have what I need.  Or want.  Such is the case with pomegranate molasses.  Before finally ordering some online, I was boiling down pomegranate juice.  It was ok.   I guess.

But then the actual pomegranate molasses arrived.  And the sky opened and cartoon birds flew around my kitchen happily while I sang angelically (I can’t sing by the way) and the sauces flowed freely from my whisk in a magical fashion.  I really love the fall flavors of combining the molasses with maple syrup, olive oil, pomegranate vinegar, and some salt and pepper for magical salad dressing, but last night I wanted something more.

I’ve been hanging onto this recipe from The Happy Foodie for several months.  I keep the tabs open on my computer, which drives Hubs nuts when I complain about my computer being slow and annoying.  This is one of those tabs.  I tweaked the recipe (just a lil!)….don’t I always?…. and I’m super excited to share it with you.

The recipe uses chicken, but I had two cornish game hens.  It also calls for drizziling olive oil, but I mixed mine into the paste instead for more even coverage without sacrificing the marinade ingredients falling off the meat.  Presentation, people!  I added a kale salad with roasted banana squash from DC Modern Roots Farm.  Yes, of course there was pomegranate molasses salad dressing!  I’m not a complete heathen, you know.

Roasted Cornish Hens In Pomegranate Sumac Paste


  • adapted from The Happy Foodie
  • 2 cornish hens split in half
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 scant tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons ground sumac
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 scant tablespoon salt
  • sesame seeds for garnish


  • Arrange the hen halves in a baking dish.  Combine all the ingredients except the sesame seeds in a bowl to make a paste.  Smear the past all over the hens.  It's a satisfying experience.  Make sure to get the paste in all the nooks and crannies.  Cover with saran wrap and let sit out for about an hour.
  • After an hour (or two), preheat the oven to 375.  Remove the saran wrap, sprinkle the hens with sesame seeds, place in the center of the oven, and bake for about 30-45 minutes.  Remove and let the hens rest for 5 minutes or so.  Serve and enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating