Cornish Hens with Apricot Mole Sauce

  • serves 4
Christine Cushing
Christine Cushing

Mexican chocolate is available in most Mexican grocery stores but any good-quality unsweetened bitter chocolate can be substituted. Apricots and pine nuts give this mole sauce an interesting depth of flavour as do the mix of dried chiles. You can just use one variety of chile pepper if you like. Yield is 4 servings.

15 Ratings
Directions for: Cornish Hens with Apricot Mole Sauce


Mole Sauce

2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

4 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded

2 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 large tomato, halved

1 cup hot water

3 cup chicken stock

2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted

⅓ cup dried apricots

¼ tsp cinnamon

pinch cloves

¾ oz Mexican Chocolate, chopped

2 Tbsp fresh breadcrumbs, toasted

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, minced

Coarse salt, to taste

Sugar, to taste

Honey, to taste

Cornish Hens

4 Cornish game hens, 1 1/2 pounds each

Vegetable oil, for brushing hens

1 clove garlic, minced

Coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper


Mole Sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Put the chiles on a baking sheet and roast until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Soak the roasted chiles in 1 cup hot boiling water for 30 minutes or until softened (you may need to put a small plate on top of the chiles to keep them submerged in the hot water).

4. Puree the chiles and soaking liquid in a blender.

5. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl.

6. Next, puree the tomatoes in the blender.

7. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, 1 tbsp. of the sesame seeds, the pine nuts, apricots, cinnamon, cloves, chocolate and breadcrumbs.

8. Puree to a smooth consistency. Pass the mixture through a medium strainer over a bowl.

9. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot on medium heat.

10. Add the garlic and the chile puree and cook, stirring constantly, 5 to 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and darkened.

11. Add the tomato puree and continue cooking, stirring constantly, 5 to 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.

12. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups chicken stock and partially cover the pot with a lid.

13. Cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should thicken enough to coat a spoon.

14. Season mole with salt, sugar and honey.

15. Garnish with the remaining 1 tbsp sesame seeds.

Cornish Hens

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Place the Cornish hens, breast-side up, in a roasting pan, truss with kitchen string, brush them with oil, rub with the minced garlic and season with salt and pepper.

3. Roast the hens 35 minutes or until cooked through internal temp of 175 degrees F.

4. Let the hens rest for 5 minutes, carve them and serve them with the mole sauce.

See more: Mexican, Poultry, Chocolate, Dinner, Main, Fruit

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