recipes: cornish game hens

Although the name is gender specific, when you purchase a Cornish game hen it could actually be a rooster. As you know, a hen is a female chicken and a rooster is a male.

However, Cornish game hens sold on the market, as "hens" may be male or female. They are a cross between two breeds of chickens - Cornish game roosters and White Rock or Plymouth Rock hens.

In the poultry business, the Cornish breeds are known as the best meat birds. Cornish game hens are plump looking little birds, with very lean, all white meat and a mild gamy flavor. The gamy flavor is attributed to a combination of breeding and a diet of acorns, grain and cranberries.

Cornish game hens are always very young (4-6 weeks old) small birds - ranging from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, so plan one to one-half bird per person. They are sometimes called Rock Cornish hens or simply Cornish hens. They are excellent for roasting; they cook quickly.

Rock Cornish Game Hens with Fruit Nut Stuffing

Ingredients  For two, one pound Rock Cornish Game Hens

    * two one-pound, Rock Cornish Game Hens with giblets removed.
    * one cup wild rice
    * four cups chicken stock, preferably home made. If using canned stock, try to find
      a variety which is low in sodium. If using regular canned stock, omit additional salt.
    * 1/4 cup butter
    * 1/4 cup chopped celery
    * 1/4 cup chopped white onion
    * 1/4 dried cranberries
    * 1/4 cup dried (or fresh) apricots
    * 1/4 cup sliced, roasted almonds
    * zest of one orange
    * one ounce Cointreau (optional)
    * one cup fresh squeezed orange juice
    * two ounces honey 


    * Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add salt and wild rice. (Omit salt if using regular,
      canned stock) Cover and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.
    * Melt butter in skillet which has been set to medium-high. Add chopped celery and
      allow it to cook for a few moments.
    * Add onion and allow to simmer for a few more moments until translucent. (Adding the
      celery first increases the water content, therefore the onions will not burn)
    * Add dried cranberries and dried apricots. (One could substitute the same amount of
      fresh apricots)
    * Add roasted almonds and the zest of one orange and allow the stuffing to saute for
      a few moments.
    * Add Cointreau (if desired)
    * Once everything is well blended, take this portion of the stuffing off heat and keep warm.
    * When rice is finished cooking, add it to the stuffing and mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool. 

Rock Cornish Game Hens

    * Pre-heat oven to 425-degrees
    * Rinse hens under cold water. Trim excess fat from along the edges of the cavity.
    * Once stuffing is cool enough to handle, stuff the hens loosely with the fruit and nut
      mixture, making sure that the stuffing reaches the neck of the cavity.
    * Using kitchen string, tie together the hens legs and tuck any loose flaps of skin over
      the cavity.
    * As a final touch, blend one cup of freshly-squeezed orange juice with two ounces of
      honey. Pour the orange and honey glaze over the birds.
    * Place uncovered into the oven.
    * Immediately reduce the temperature to 325-degrees. This helps to sear the birds' skin
      while maintaining their juiciness.
    * Roast the Cornish Hens for 45 minutes, basting every 15-minutes. The hens are done when,
      after pricking the flesh with a fork, the juice runs clear. 

Stuffed Rock Cornish Game Hen

        6 tbsp. butter
        2 med. celery sticks (optional)
        1 med. onion, diced
        1/2 lb. chopped mushrooms
        1 c. fresh bread crumbs (2 slices)
        1/2 tsp. sage, (optional)
        4 game hens, cleaned, gutted

Saute butter, celery, mushrooms, onion and sage until onion is nearly translucent.
Stir in bread crumbs. Take off heat. Stuff game hens and lay on back in pan. Tie
legs together with string. Sprinkle with salt. Roast at 350 degrees one hour or
until juice runs clear when hen is pricked. Baste occasionally.

Cornish Game Hens with wild rice stuffing and almond glaze

        4 game hens
        3 c. cooked wild rice
        1 c. finely diced celery
        1 tbsp. minced onion
        1 (6 oz.) can sliced mushrooms
        1/2 c. slivered almonds
        1/2 tsp. salt
        1/2 tsp. dried basil
        3 tbsp. sherry
        1/2 tsp. dried thyme
        1/4 tsp. garlic powder
        2 tbsp. butter
        See Glaze recipe below

Saute the vegetables and almonds in butter, add herbs and seasonings. Mix with the
rice and cool completely. Prepare 4 hens for baking, stuff and place in baking pan.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and roast 60 minutes. For the last 30
minutes baste frequently with almond glaze.


Mix together:

        1/2 c. crushed or fine chopped almonds
        1/2 c. light brown sugar
        1 tbsp. lemon juice
        1/2 c. dark corn syrup

Serves 4 or 8.

Devonshire Cornish Hens

        2/3 c. Devonshire Royal cream
        2 tbsp. lemon juice
        1/2 tsp. salt
        4 Cornish game hens
        16 seedless grapes
        1/3 c. butter
        2 tsp. Dijon mustard
        1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
        1 apple, peeled and quartered
        1/2 c. half and half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small saucepan combine Devonshire Royal Cream, butter,
lemon juice, mustard, salt, and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly,
just until mixture comes to a boil. Remove sauce from heat and set aside.

Remove giblets from hens. Rinse hens in cold water; dry well. Season cavities with salt
and pepper. Fill each cavity with an apple quarter and about 4 grapes. Truss or skewer legs.
Lightly oil a shallow baking pan. Arrange hens breast side up in pan. Brush hens with
Devonshire sauce. Roast 30 minutes; brush with sauce again and continue roasting about 30
minutes. When done, remove trussing or skewers.

TO MAKE THE SAUCE: Drain off fat from pan drippings. Scrape drippings into saucepan
containing Devonshire cream sauce. Add half and half. Stir over medium heat until warmed
through. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Spoon sauce over hens.

Cornish Game Hens with orange stuffing

        1 orange
        1/4 c. sliced green onion
        1/4 c. chopped celery
        1 tbsp. cooking oil
        1/2 of 6 oz. pkg. (1 1/2 c.) seasoned stuffing mix
        2 (1-1 1/2 lb.) cornish game hens, thawed & split lengthwise
        1 tbsp. honey

Finely shred 1/4 teaspoon peel from orange; remove and discard remaining peel. Section
orange over a bowl, squeezing out juices. Halve sections; set aside.

Add water to juices to equal 3 tablespoons. In a small pan cook green onion and celery in
hot oil until tender but not brown. For stuffing, in a large bowl toss together peel, orange
sections, onion mixture, stuffing mix and enough of the juice mixture to moisten.

In a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan spoon stuffing into 4 mounds. If desired, cover and chill
overnight. To roast, rinse hens; pat dry. Place hens, cavity side down, over stuffing. Cover
loosely with foil. Roast in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and roast for 20 minutes more.

Stir together honey and 1 tablespoon water; brush mixture over hens. Roast, uncovered, for
15 minutes more or until hens are tender. Use a wide spatula to transfer hens and stuffing
to dinner plates. Makes 4 servings.

New England stuffed cornish hen

        6 Cornish game hens
        1/4 c. butter, sweet
        1 onion, finely chopped
        2 stalks celery, finely chopped
        1/2 tsp. garlic, chopped
        1/2 c. pine nuts
        3 tsp. cinnamon
        4 c. chicken stock
        2 c. rice, long grain
        1/2 c. raisins
        1 c. Kahlua liquor
        2 c. apricot jam
        Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry hens. Place breast side up in a roasting pan with
rack and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing as follows: Melt the butter in large saucepan. Saute onion
and celery and garlic until tender. Add pine nuts, cinnamon, chicken stock, rice and raisins.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked.
Allow to cool. When stuffing and hens are cool enough to handle, stuff the hens with the
rice stuffing and truss the hens.

Over low heat in a saucepan, heat the Kahlua and apricot jam until the jam dissolves.
Season with salt and pepper to your liking and baste the hens with this mixture. Reheat
oven to 350 degrees and return the hens to the oven. Bake until done, basting frequently
with the Kahlua mixture. Serves: 6.

Cinnamon Dusted Cornish Game Hen with Sweet Potato Risotto

	4 Rock Cornish game hen breasts with bone (8 halves)
	Salt and pepper
	3 sweet potatoes, plus 1, sliced thinly and fried
	2 tablespoons butter
	1/4 teaspoon ginger, chopped
	1 cup sugar
	1 cup water
	1 cup fresh cranberries
	1/4 cup Port wine
	12 ounces Arborio rice, cooked
	1/4 cup Riesling
	1/2 vanilla bean
	4 tablespoons mascarpone
	1 teaspoon orange zest
	4 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
	Chervil leaves

Rub hen breasts with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Dice 3 sweet potatoes. Heat skillet, add sweet potato with
butter and ginger. Toss until lightly brown. Place in the oven and roast until slightly al
dente. Reserve.

Combine sugar, water, and cranberry, and Port wine in same pot. Reduce slowly until thick.
Puree and put through chinois. Put back on the stove and reduce until syrupy. Reserve.

Add risotto to pan. Add Riesling. Scrape 1/2 vanilla bean, stirring until incorporated. Add
mascarpone. Fold in roasted sweet potato.

Sear off game hen breasts and finish in oven, keeping tender and juicy. Blanch orange zest in
hot water for approximately 2 minutes.

Put risotto in the bottom of a bowl or plate, with game hen breasts crossed on the top.
Garnish with crispy sweet potato, toasted walnuts, chervil, and drizzle with cranberry syrup.
Top with orange zest.

Cornish Game Hens with Apple-Cranberry Chutney

Roast more hens if needed and double the chutney to feed a crowd. Leftover chutney
will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

	1-tablespoon olive oil
	1/ 2 cup onion, chopped
	1 Rome apple, peeled and chopped
	2 cups fresh cranberries
	1 cup apple cider
	1 tablespoon lemon juice
	2 tablespoons brown sugar
	2 tablespoons white sugar
	1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
	1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
	Pinch of salt
	4 Cornish game hens
	1 1/2 cups kosher salt
	1-gallon water (8 cups)
	Olive oil

1. Remove giblets from hens. Rinse hens inside and out with cold water. In a large
plastic glass or other food safe container, combine salt and water. Stir well to
completely dissolve. Immerse hens in brine. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

2. Meanwhile prepare chutney. In a heavy skillet, sauté onions in olive oil for
about 3 minutes. Add apples and cranberries. Stir. Reduce heat to low.

3. In another bowl, mix apple cider, lemon juice, sugars, sage and black pepper.
Stir to combine. Pour over cranberry mixture in skillet. Cook over medium heat for
about 10 minutes or until chutney thickens. Set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 375F. Remove hens from brine and rinse well under cold running
water. Pat dry with towels.

5. Coat hens with a thin layer of olive oil. Tuck wing tips. Arrange in a shallow
pan. Insert meat thermometer in thigh away from bone. Do not crowd hens in the pan.
Use two pans if necessary. Roast at 375ºF for 1 hour or until thermometer reaches 180F.

6. After about 30 minutes of roasting time, baste hens with some of the liquid from
the apple-cranberry chutney. Use a brush to coat each hen completely. Return to the
oven and continue roasting.

7. Repeat basting two more times, every 10 minutes. Check thermometer. Remove hens
from oven and allow resting for 15 minutes before serving.

8. To serve: cut each hen in half and serve with 1-tablespoon chutney. Serve extra
chutney as side.

Serving size 1/2 hen w/1-tablespoon cranberry-apple chutney. Calories 477; fat 30g;
protein 34g; carb 17g; fiber 2g; chol 200mg; vitC 18mg; iron 2 mg; 100mg sodium; calc 30mg. 

Cornish Hens Stuffed with Brandied Figs

	4 to 6 medium to large fresh figs
	1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
	1 cup Port
	4 1-pound poussin or Cornish hens, giblets removed and rinsed
	Salt and freshly ground pepper
	4 cups rock salt or other salt

Cut figs in quarters. In a small bowl mix allspice with Port. Put figs in a zip-lock bag,
add marinade, close, shake back and forth a few times and marinate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Put salt in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold
all the hens without crowding.

Loosen the skin of the hens and season with salt and pepper. Season cavity with salt and
pepper and stuff with drained figs. (If using small hens, you may have a few figs left over.
Don't overstuff the hens, however.) Brush the flesh of the hens with fig marinade and truss
hens. Brush any remaining marinade over hens.

Put hens in the oven 30 to 35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees in
the deep thigh of the hens. Remove, let rest 10 minutes, covered with foil. Untruss and serve.

Tips: Roasting poultry - from Cornish hens to turkeys - on rock salt (or other salt) minimizes
grease splattering. Just scrape off any salt that may have attached to the bottom of the
birds and discard the grease-soaked salt from the roasting pan.

Yield: 4 servings

Pomegranate Honey Roasted Game Hens

	1 cup fresh pomegranate juice (see note below)
	1/2 cup honey plus 3 tablespoons
	1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
	1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
	1/2 teaspoon allspice
	1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
	6 cloves garlic, smashed
	3 game hens, split in half
	Salt and pepper
	Pomegranate seeds for garnish
	Chopped, roasted pistachio nuts for garnish

To remove the seeds, cut the crown end off a pomegranate, removing with it some of the
white pith. Take care not to pierce the seeds within. Lightly score the skin in quarters,
from the stem to crown end. Firmly yet gently break the sections apart, following the
score lines. Bend back the skin and gently scoop the seed clusters into a bowl; remove any pith.

(Note: For 1 cup of juice, put 1-1/2 to 2 cups seeds in a blender; blend until liquified. Pour
mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve.)

Mix pomegranate juice, 1/2 cup honey, and next 5 ingredients; pour over hens. Marinate,
covered, overnight or at least 8 hours in the refrigerator, turning occasionally.

Drain hens, reserving marinade. Simmer marinade, covered for 10 minutes; reserve. Season hens
with salt and pepper. Bake at 450 degrees F, basting frequently with reserved marinade, until
hens are just firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven; let rest covered with a
tea towel for 5 minutes. Brush each half with 1/2 tablespoon honey. Garnish with pomegranate
seeds and chopped pistachios.

Yield: 6 servings 

Roasted Cornish Hens with Lemon and Rosemary

	4  Gold Kist Farms Cornish Hens (22 ounces each)
	Salt and pepper
	1 large lemon
	4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
	4 springs parsley
	2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves
	3 tablespoons olive oil
	1/2 - 3/4 cup chicken broth
	1/3 cup dry white wine
	3 tablespoons butter
	Chopped parsley or fresh rosemary (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F. Season cavities of hens with salt and pepper. Remove rind from lemon
with a zester or vegetable peeler; cut into thin julienne strips. Squeeze juice from lemon;
reserve. Cut remains of lemon into quarters and place in hen cavities, along with garlic,
parsley, and rosemary, dividing equally.

Gently lift breast skin away from meat by slipping fingers between the skin and meat of hens.
Divide lemon strips among hens and place under skin. Fold wing tips under hens and tie legs
together. Lightly grease bottom of heavy roasting pan. Place hens in pan breast side up; brush
generously with olive oil on all sides. Salt and pepper, if desired. Roast, basting every 15
minutes with chicken broth, for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until juices run clear when
thighs are pierced with a fork and temperature on meat thermometer is 180F. Remove hens from
pan; set aside on warm platter.

Skim fat from pan juices. Put roasting pan over medium heat; stir in any remaining broth and
wine. Simmer, stirring up any browned bits from pan, 15 minutes or until liquid reduces to
about 1/2 cup. Stir in reserved lemon juice and whisk in butter a little at a time. Salt and
pepper if needed. Serve sauce over hens or separately. Garnish with parsley or fresh rosemary.

4 servings

Roasted Cornish Hens in Champagne

	4 Gold Kist Farms Cornish Hens (22 ounces each)

	Salt and pepper
	4 tablespoons melted butter
	1 cup Champagne or other sparkling wine
	1/2 cup heavy cream
	Watercress (optional)

Preheat oven to 500F. Season hen cavities with salt and pepper. Fold wing tips under hens
and tie legs together. Brush melted butter on hens to completely cover. Place in open roasting
pan and roast 10 minutes. Brush melted butter on hens to completely cover. Place in open
roasting pan and roast 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400F. Pour Champagne over hens; continue
roasting, basting frequently with pan juices, for 30 minutes or until juices run clear when
thighs are pierced with a fork and temperature on meat thermometer is 180F. Remove hens to a
serving platter and keep warm. Bring pan juices to a boil on top of range, stirring to loosen
browned bits on bottom of pan. Add cream and over medium-high heat, reduce sauce by half, about
5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish hens with watercress and serve sauce

4 servings

Roasted Cornish Hens with Parsley Stuffing

	4 Gold Kist Farms Rock Cornish Game Hen (22 ounces each)
	Salt and pepper

	1 1/4 cups fresh parsley leaves
	1/2   green onion
	2     shallots, peeled
	2     mushrooms
	6     fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried basil
	1     tablespoon ricotta or cream cheese
	2     tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

	1/4     cup white wine
	1/2     cup chicken broth
	1       tablespoon chopped parsley
	Salt and pepper to taste

Season hen cavities with salt and pepper. Set aside. Combine parsley, onion, shallots,
mushrooms and basil in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add cheese and salt and
pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 425F.

Working from the neck opening of hens, gently separate skin from meat with your fingers.
Spread stuffing mixture under skin and pat back into place. Fold wing tips under hens and
tie legs together. Brush hens with oil and place in a shallow roasting pan. Roast 15 minutes
then reduce oven temperature to 350F. Continue roasting 35 minutes more or until juices run
clear when thighs are pierced with a fork and temperature on meat thermometer is 180F. Remove
to a serving platter.

Degrease pan juices. Place pan on stove top over low heat. Add wine stirring to loosen browned
bits in pan. Add chicken broth and parsley. Stir and cook to reduce sauce by one-third, 5 to 7
minutes. Strain sauce into sauceboat; season with salt and pepper, if needed. Pour over hens
on platter or serve separately.

4 servings

Honey Baked Cornish Hens

	4 Gold Kist Farms Cornish Hens (22 ounces each)
	Salt and pepper
	1 cup honey
	2/3 cup white wine vinegar
	2 tablespoons whole green peppercorns
	2 teaspoons finely minced shallots

Season hens with salt and pepper. Fold wing tips under hens, place in roasting pan and set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until
reduced by half and a glaze has formed, about 25 to 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F.

With a slotted spoon, remove peppercorns from glaze and crush. Place peppercorns into hen
cavities; tie legs together. Quickly cool down glaze by placing the saucepan in ice water
for 30 seconds. Coat hens with glaze and roast 30 minutes. Reheat glaze and brush on hens;
roast 20 minutes more or until juices run clear when thighs are pierced with a fork and
temperature on meat thermometer is 180F. If desired, julienne strips of carrot may be added
to roasting pan the last 20 minutes and served with hens.

4 servings

Rock Cornish Game Hens with wine sauce

Season with butter and parsley. Roast in 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Baste frequently.
Lower oven to 350 degrees for 35 minutes (continue basting). Place under broiler for a few
minutes to brown. (Watch under broiler carefully, not over 5 minutes.)


	1 tbsp. butter
	1/2 glass currant jelly
	Juice of 1/2 lemon
	Pinch cayenne
	3 cloves
	1 tsp. salt
	1/2 c. port wine

Simmer together for 5 minutes all ingredients except wine. Strain. Add wine and a little
gravy. One tablespoon cornstarch to thicken slightly.

Savory Stuffing Balls

prepare 3 balls per person

	1 cup onions chopped
	4 tablespoons butter
	1/2 cup celery, chopped
	6 cups dry bread cubes
	2 cups water
	2 eggs, beaten slightly
	4 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
	4 teaspoons dried sage
	2 teaspoons dried poultry seasoning
	1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
	1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
	melted butter
	garnish with sage leaves

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute approximately
5 minutes.  Add the celery and continue cooking until softened.  Remove from the heat.  Add
the beaten eggs to the water and blend well.  Add the parsley, sage, poultry seasoning, pepper
and nutmeg, mix well and pour over the dry bread cubes and stir.

Shape the mixture into 2-inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet, drizzle a small amount
of melted butter over the balls. Bake uncovered in 375° degree oven for 20 minutes.

Makes approximately 30 balls