Fabulous Recipe No. 25

Stuffed Cornish Game Hens


Colin's recipe for Stuffed Cornish Game Hens.


4 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/8 pound (2 strips) diced pancetta (optional) sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 pound sweet pork sausage (casing removed and meat crumbled)
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 slices lightly toasted white sandwich bread (cut into 1/4-inch cubes)
1 large egg
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pistachios
1/4 coarsely chopped toasted almonds
1/4 coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
2 to 3 cups chicken stock (enough to cover the bottom of the roasting pans to a depth of 1/2 inch)
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 Cornish hens, about 1 1/2 pounds each



1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. 

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and pancetta, and sauté for 4 minutes until soft. Add the sausage meat and sauté, stirring until brown for about 5 minutes. Remove the contents of the pan to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool. When cool, add the thyme and parsley and mix well. Add the toasted bread cubes, egg, nuts and 2 tablespoons of the chicken stock. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Wash the Cornish hens in cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season the hens well inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the hens with 2 to 3 spoonfuls of stuffing each. Tie the legs together with kitchen string to cover the cavities so the stuffing will not spill out.

4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the sauté pan. Place two of the hens in each of two ovenproof glass baking dishes. Brush the hens on the outside with the melted butter. Fill the baking dishes with chicken stock to a depth of 1/2 inch. Place the dishes in the oven and roast for 1 hour, basting three or four times. If the liquid begins to dry up, add more stock as needed. The hens are done when the juices run clear if you poke them near the thigh with a skewer. 

5. Remove the pan from the oven, cut the string, and place the hens on serving plates. Skim the pan juices of any excess fat and use as a sauce (there's no need to reduce it). Serve the hens with black and white rice on the side. 

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