Best if made in a clay pot, but will work if you adapt the temperature and cooking times for regular roasting. I was intrigued by the use of mace, that ingredient that sits in the pantry feeling neglected until a rare recipe calls for it. It works wonders in this preparation, so consider bringing that little bottle to shine in your kitchen.

(inspired by 660 Curries)

2 Cornish game hens, cut in half lengthwise
¾ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup slivered blanched almond
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground mace
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional, I omitted this time)
a few small potatoes

To make the marinade, combine the yogurt, almonds, salt, turmeric, nutmeg, and mace in a blender or food processor. Puree, transfer to a bowl and fold the cilantro leaves. Pour the marinade over the hens, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Soak your clay pot. Add potatoes to the clay pot then place the hens with a bit of the marinade still clinging to them over the potatoes. Place the covered pot in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 450F.

Roast covered for 1 hour, remove the lid and roast further until the skin is nicely browned. If your oven heats too slowly, roast for 1 hour and 10 minutes covered then remove the lid.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I’ve made this recipe three times in the past couple of months. Tying the legs together makes for a nicer presentation, but it is optional. The marinade is perfect, and will also work on chicken, either whole or cut in pieces. I’ve been using ground almonds in marinades often, and it does add a nice substance to it. The book 660 Curries is one of my favorites. It is rare that I love a cookbook with no photos, but the narrative and variety of recipes makes up for it. Plus, everything I cooked from it has been fantastic. A great recommendation from my future daughter-in-law, Courtnie.

Full disclosure: I wrote this post and set to publish. Tweaked it 5 or 6 times after that. Before going to bed I decided to take one final look, and there it was, in the very last paragraph:

It is rare that I love a cookbook with no recipes…..

Glad I caught it… but could not resist sharing the boo-boo.

ONE YEAR AGO: Cookies for the Holidays – Gingerbread

TWO YEARS AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four

THREE YEARS AGO: White Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Cake

FOUR YEAR AGO: Panettone Time!

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pistachio Creme Brulee

SIX YEARS AGO: Fast and Furious Bison Chili

SEVEN YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, December 2014

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Braised Fennel with Saffron and Tomato

NINE YEARS AGO: Revenge of the Two Derelicts

TEN YEARS AGO: Grilling Ribbons

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Peppery Cashew Crunch

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Baked Shrimp and Feta Pasta


  1. Oh Sally – methinks this is not the first time I have grown frustrated trying to see whether we raise and sell Cornish hens in Australia ! Cannot find any at our supermarkets anyways . . . altogether small chickens seem to be notable by their absence ! There is big bragging that no chicken in Oz is brought up in a cage or has hormones anywhere near it etc et al .Cooks here seem to want large whole birds for roasting or are happy with pieces from Chicken Maryland downwards !!! Love your marinade . . . yes, have mace, huh!, at the back of the shelf !!! Shall definitely ‘do’ ! AND – found the book, would buy, but I collect hard copies and here those are for lottery winners !! Lucky you !! Love your last story . . . oh, have I been there before . . . ! . .


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