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Dig into honey-glazed Cornish hens with cabbage and apples


This photo shows honey-glazed chicken with savoy cabbage.

This photo shows honey-glazed chicken with savoy cabbage. Photo by: Phil Mansfield/The Culinary Institute of America via AP


The Culinary Institute of America



Though the disco ball drops in January, the shofar blows in September, marking the beginning of the new year for Jewish communities across the globe. Observed as one of the holiest days of the year, Rosh Hashanah is a special two-day celebration of what's to come. 


Like the ceremonial blowing of the shofar (a ram's horn), the holiday is marked by many traditions such as candle-lighting, special greetings and prayers, and foods and dishes that hold special meaning for the coming year. 


And since we are The Culinary Institute of America -- where food is life -- we're here with a new family-favorite recipe to ring in the new year, with some special ingredients that help set the tone for happy and healthy months ahead. 


Honey-glazed Cornish hens with sauteed cabbage and baked apples is a fresh take on foods commonly found on a Rosh Hashanah table. The honey infuses sweetness into the new year and, paired with savory schmaltz, adds a sticky glaze atop the crisp poultry skin. Served alongside sweet, baked apples -- another holiday table tradition -- and tender cabbage, this meal is sure to start a family's year off with lots of luck and a full belly. 


Schmaltz, which is simply rendered chicken fat, is a common ingredient in traditional Jewish cooking as a substitute for dairy-filled butter. Though it can be found in the kitchens of grandmothers the world over, schmaltz is gaining in popularity for its savory flavor among those who eschew dairy products. 


Schmaltz can be purchased in some specialty markets, but it's a cinch to prepare with ingredients you may already have. In fact, you've likely made it before and just discarded it (a tragedy.) One common way to "make" schmaltz is to slowly render chicken skin over low heat until it gives up its clear fat -- the schmaltz. Another option is to skim the bright yellow fat from the top of homemade chicken stock, also schmaltz. When hot it is a liquid, but stored in the refrigerator, the fat will become solid and scoopable. Every time you use it in place of butter or oil, your house will smell like chicken soup. 


We've used Cornish game hens for this recipe, because they are perfect for individual servings. But this glaze will work perfectly with whatever poultry you prefer, like roasting chickens, turkey or even duck. Of course, the cooking times will vary, so just roast the meat as you would normally, adding the glaze for the last 5 or 10 minutes. You can drizzle some of the leftover glaze over a platter of sliced meat, if you like. 


Roasted meats and baked apples make the perfect sweet and savory combination. You'll want to choose apples that stand up well to baking, like Cortland, Golden Delicious, Jonagold and Granny Smith. Granny Smith is a great choice for this recipe, since it's a little tart, which will help balance out the sweetness of the honey-glazed hens.  






Servings: 8 


Start to finish: 1 hour 20 minutes (Active: 30 minutes) 




2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) or extra-virgin olive oil, divided use 


1/2 cup honey 


2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 


2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced 


8 Cornish hens or 2 roasting chickens (about 4 pounds each) 


Kosher salt, to taste 




  • Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the chicken fat with the honey and pepper. Remove glaze from heat and set aside. 


  • Divide onions among the bottom of two large baking dishes or roasting pans. Rub hens all over with remaining chicken fat, then season all over with salt. Place hens on top of onions (four in each pan; they should not be crowded), using roasting racks if desired. Roast hens until golden brown and just about cooked through, about 25 minutes. 


  • Remove from oven and brush each hen with the reserved honey glaze. Increase oven temperature to 425 F and bake hens until chickens are deeply browned and juices from hens run clear, an additional 5 minutes. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes before serving. 






    Servings: 8 




    1 bunch scallions 


    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 


    2 garlic cloves, chopped 


    1 pound Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 8 cups) 


    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 


    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 


    1/4 cup water 




  • Chop scallions, reserving white and dark green parts separately. 


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites and garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage, salt and pepper and saute until cabbage begins to release its juices, about 1 minute. Add water and cover, and cook until cabbage is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add remaining scallion and cook, uncovered, until water has evaporated and cabbage is tender, about 2 more minutes. 






    Servings: 8 




    1/2 cup coconut oil or dairy-free butter substitute, melted 


    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 


    1/2 cup raisins 


    4 baking apples 




  • Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, sugar and raisins, and set aside. 


  • Core apples. Slice top off each apple, approximately 1/4-inch from the top, and, using an apple-corer, small knife, or spoon, gently hollow the two apples. Be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch-thick shell. 


  • Fill hollowed apples with the sugar mixture. Place stuffed apples in a greased baking dish and bake until apples are slightly browned, tender and cooked throughout, about 25 minutes. Spoon liquid at the bottom of the pan over the apples before serving. 


    Nutrition information per serving of Cornish hens: 398 calories; 109 calories from fat; 12 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 236 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 19 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 18 g sugar; 52 g protein. 


    Nutrition information per serving of cabbage: 72 calories; 48 calories from fat; 5 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 142 mg sodium; 6 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 2 g protein.



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