Baked Cornish Hens with Cumberland Sauce Recipe

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The local market ran Cornish hens on sale so I took advantage of the opportunity and decided on preparing this Baked Cornish Hen with Cumberland Sauce Recipe for supper.

Up until this time I was not really familiar on exactly what Cumberland Sauce consisted of so I guess I kind of prepared this recipe out of curiosity; it kind of reminds me of a sweet and sour sauce, except the ingredients are a little different. Because this is a sauce I don’t normally run into I went to “Wikipedia” to get a little bit of history on it.

“Cumberland sauce is a fruit-based sauce, usually used on non-white meats such as venison, ham, and lamb. Created sometime in the late 19th century, the sauce was named for the Duke of Cumberland, who had ties to Hanover, Germany, where the sauce was invented. It is a more complex version of a simple redcurrant sauce

Despite its German origin, today the sauce is ubiquitous in the Cumbria region of England and is thought of as a thoroughly British condiment.”

With that being said this Baked Cornish Hen with Cumberland Sauce was a delicious combination of flavors – a little on the sweet side; but very good. The next time you decide to put Cornish hens on the menu give this one a try.

Baked Cornish Hen with Cumberland Sauce Recipe
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: English
Author: Patricia
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4

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Baked Cornish Hens with Cumberland Sauce Recipe

  • Author: Cullys Kitchen


  • 4 Rock Cornish Hens about 1 pound each
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • To Make Cumberland Sauce
  • 1/ 4 cup orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup currant jelly
  • 1/2 cup Sherry
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of hot sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 500F.
  2. Salt and pepper the cavity of each hen with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place the hens in a shallow roasting pan breast side up and brush the hens generously with butter.
  3. Roast uncovered for 15 minutes. Flip the hens to breast side down and pour 1/2 cup water over the top of the hens, decrease the temperature to 400F, cover with aluminum foil and continue roasting for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the aluminum foil and turn the breasts, breast side up. Continue roasting for 30 more minutes or until hens are tender, basting time through the cooking cycle. While hens are finishing prepare the Cumberland Sauce.
  5. In a medium size saucepan mix together the orange and lemon zest, along with the orange and lemon juice.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook uncovered until zest becomes translucent; about 15 minutes.
  7. Stir in the jelly, Sherry, ground mustard, ginger, salt, and hot sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 1/4 cups of sauce. (Sauce will kind of thicken up)
  8. Serve Cornish Hens with the sauce poured over the top.

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