One of the first recorded recipes incorporating Seville oranges is the roasted duck in bitter orange sauce of Marie-Antoine Carême, the 18th century’s answer to a celebrity chef. Cornish hens are just as tasty as and less fussy to roast than ducks.
Because of their extremely short season, Seville oranges can be hard to find. If you can’t locate any, you can make these recipes by substituting equal parts fresh lemon and sweet orange juice.
4 Seville oranges
1 tbsp honey
2 Cornish game hens, about 1½ pounds each
2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste 3 sprigs rosemary 3 small onions, peeled and quartered Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut two of the oranges in half and squeeze their juice into a small bowl. Discard spent halves. Combine juice with honey and mix until honey dissolves. Set aside. Season hens on all side with salt and pepper. Cut a third orange in half and place a piece in the cavity of each bird along with a sprig of rosemary.
Line the bottom of a large roasting pan with onions. Cut remaining orange into wedges and scatter among onion pieces. Place hens over onions and oranges and drizzle generously with honey-orange sauce, reserving a couple of spoonfuls. Scatter rosemary leaves over hens. Roast hens breast-side-up on bottom rack of oven. After about 50 minutes, brush hens again with sauce and, if they’re getting too brown, cover loosely with a piece of foil. Continue roasting 15 minutes longer or until juices run clear and leg joints feel loose. Serve hens with onions and roasted orange pieces.