Grilled Game Hens with Rosepetals – 1

From Matthew Altizer

2011 Nov/Dec

This recipe combines the delicate flavour of game hens with the heady aroma of rose petals. It may seem like a strange combination but it works surprisingly well. Dried rose petals and rose petal jam are available at almost any Middle Eastern grocer.


  • 3 game hens, backbones cut out with scissors and flattened into two symmetrical pieces


  • 1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 3 T. rosewater
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 3 T. rose petal jam
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
  • 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • kosher salt and black pepperroughly chopped pistachios and dried rose petals to finish


Mix the marinade ingredients together and rub all over the hens. Place them in a dish and marinate for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. To make the sauce, mix the rose petal jam, garlic and cinnamon together in a bowl, then add the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat a grill over medium-high and cook the birds until slightly charred and just cooked throughout. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before serving with the sauce and pistachios or rose petals or both. Serves 6.