Beggar’s Cornish Game Hen Recipe

The cornish hen is a hybrid chicken sold whole. Despite the name, cornish game hen, is a broiler chicken.  This is a great cornish hen recipe, that tastes fantastic. Beggar’s Chicken is a Chinese classic. Below is a how to prepare cornish hen- so enjoy! After you have enjoyed this recipe, let me know how much you have enjoyed this cornish hen recipe.


2 cornish game hens ( about 1-1/2 pounds each), giblets removed

4 lotus leaves or 2 18-inch squares heavy duty foil


2 tablespoons soy sauc

2 tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

2 teaspoons minced ginger

1 teaspoon sesame oil


2 tablespoons preserved turnip leaves (dong choy)

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 rib celery, finely chopped

1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts

Baker’s Clay

8 cups all-purpose flour

8 cups salt

4 cups water


1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Rub the hens inside and out with marinade. Pour the excess marinade into the cavities. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. If using lotus leaves, place them in a large 2 to 3-inch deep roasting pan. Pour boiling water over the leaves to cover. Weigh down the leaves with a heatproof plate; keep the leaves submerged for 30 minutes. Place the pan over medium-low heat and simmer for 10 minutes; drain.

3. Combine the stuffing ingredients in a small bowl and stuff each hen with half of the stuffing.

4. Place 2 lotus leaves, rib side up, on a work surface, overlapping the leaves as necessary to cover any holes. Center one hen on the leaves. Fold one side over the hen, then fold in the two adjacent sides. Fold over the fourth side and tuck in as if tucking in the flap of an envelope. If using foil, wrap each hen in foil so it is completely enclosed.

5. Prepare the baker’s clay: Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the water to make a firm dough. Roll half of the dough out onto lightly floured parchment paper to 1/2-inch thick. Place a wrapped chicken in the center, and using the parchment paper to help you lift, bring the dough up and around the hen. Pinch the edges to seal.

6.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack large enough to hold both hens in a large roasting pan. Cover the rack with foil (this prevents the dough from sagging on the rack) and punch a few holes in the foil to allow the air to circulate under the rack. Place the hens on the rack and bake for 2 hours.

7. Remove the hens from the oven and transfer them to a cutting board. Break open the clay shell with a heavy cleaver or chef’s knife: discard the shell. Transfer the hens to a platter and fold back the lotus leaves or foil. The meat should be very tender, almost falling off the bones.

TIP: Preserved turnip leaves (dong choy) are traditional in this dish. They are sold in some Asian markets in small earthenware pickling crocks, and should be rinsed in water and patted dry before using. Other Chinese preserved vegetables, though not exactly the same in flavor, can be used instead.

Servings: 2 to 4

Marinade Time: 2 Hours

Prep. Time: About 1 hour

Bake Time: 2 Hours

Total Time: About 5 hours




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