Roast Stuffed Cornish Game Hens
Always an elegant entrée choice for special occasions, this recipe for roast stuffed Cornish hens also includes the choice of three delicious stuffings.
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
- 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.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400°F (205°C).
- Whisk balsamic vinegar and oil in small bowl; set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: