Cornish Hen Cacciatore


  • 3 x 750 gr Cornish hens, jointed
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 bay leaves
  •  2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  •  3 cloves garlic, peeled (1 crushed, 2 sliced)
  •  22 gr or 1 pack of Cremini mushrooms, halved
  •  1 pack red pearl onions, peeled whole
  •  ½ bottle red wine
  •  extra virgin olive oil
  •  6 anchovy fillets
  •  1 handful large green, stoned
  •  2 x 400 g good-quality canned plum tomatoes


1. Season the hen pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and put them into a bowl. Add the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and the crushed clove of garlic and cover with the wine. Leave to marinate for at least an hour, but preferably overnight in the fridge.

2. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat an ovenproof pan, add a splash of olive oil, fry the Cornish hen pieces until browned lightly all over and put to one side.

3. Place the pan back on the heat and add the sliced garlic, Pearl onions and cremini mushrooms. Fry gently until golden brown, then add the anchovies, olives, tomatoes (broken up with a wooden spoon) and the hen pieces with their reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid or a double thickness layer of foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours.

4. Skim off any oil that’s collected on top of the sauce, then stir, taste and add a little salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, and serve with pasta, polenta or beans and lots of good red wine.