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Roast Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

No recipe image available.Always an elegant entrée choice for special occasions, this recipe for roast stuffed Cornish hens also includes the choice of three delicious stuffings.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 cups kosher or 1 cup table salt
6 Cornish game hens (each less than 1 1/2 pounds, if possible), trimmed of extra fat, giblets removed, and rinsed well
1 recipe stuffing (see below), heated until very hot
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine

Cooking Directions:

  1. Dissolve salt in 5 quarts cold water in small clean bucket or large bowl. Add hens breast side down; refrigerate 2 to 3 hours. Remove, rinse thoroughly, pat dry, and prick skin all over breast and legs with point of a paring knife.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400°F (205°C).
  3. Whisk balsamic vinegar and oil in small bowl; set aside.
  4. Spoon 1/2 cup hot stuffing into cavity of each hen; tie its legs together with 6-inch piece of kitchen twine. Leaving as much space as possible between each bird, arrange them breast side down and wings facing out, on large (at least 19 x 13-inch) wire rack, set over equally large roasting or jelly-roll pan. Roast until backs are golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from oven, brush bird backs with vinegar and oil glaze (re-blending before each bird), turn hens breast side up and wings facing out, and brush breast and leg area with additional glaze.
  6. Return pan to oven, add 1 cup water, roast until meat thermometer inserted into the stuffed cavity registers about 150°F (65°C), about 15 to 20 minutes longer.
  7. Remove pan from oven again, brush birds with re-blended glaze, return pan to oven, add another 1/2 cup water to pan and increase oven temperature to 450°F (230°C). Roast until birds are spotty brown and cavity registers 160°F (70°C), 5 to 10 minutes longer, depending on bird size. Remove birds from oven, brush with remaining glaze, and rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, pour hen jus from roasting pan into small saucepan, spoon off excess fat, add vermouth or wine, and simmer over medium-high heat until flavors blend, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle about 1/4 cup sauce over each hen and serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Makes 6 servings.

Choose from one of these stuffing recipes or use your own: