Cornish Game Hen with Prune Stuffing

Food Network Canada
4 servings




cup Port (125 ml)
pitted prunes, chopped
clove garlic, minced
cup cubed rustic bread (about ½-inch or 1 cm cubes) (500 ml)
Tbsp olive oil (30 ml)
Several sprigs fresh rosemary, some chopped and sprigs for bird and roasting pan
Cornish game hens, (each hen 1 ¾ pounds/1294 grams)
Tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes, for roasting the bird (30 ml)
Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
shallots, peeled and left whole
bay leaves
cup chicken stock (250 ml)
Tbsp butter, for finishing the sauce, optional (15 ml)


Step 1

Soak prunes in Port overnight or at least 4 hours.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 3

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. Add bread and sauté until golden crisp. Season the bread with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add ½ tbsp. chopped rosemary and garlic. Toss to combine. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Step 4

Drain the prunes lightly and reserve remaining port to make the sauce. Add the prunes to the bread and toss to combine.

Step 5

Pat Cornish hens dry with paper towel, inside and outside the bird. Season the cavity of the bird with salt and pepper. Stuff each bird’s cavity evenly with the stuffing.

Step 6

Cut the tips of rosemary sprigs off or cut 4 small pieces off the sprig of rosemary. Loosen the skin of each of the hen’s breast. Stuff under the skin of each breast, a piece of rosemary and ½ tbsp. butter. Season the outside of the bird with a little more salt and pepper, to taste. Truss the hens with butcher’s twine if desired. (Trussing the bird will just help the bird cook more evenly.)

Step 7

Add a splash of olive oil to a roasting pan. Place the hens in the pan with 2 sprigs of rosemary and shallots. Roast Cornish hens, basting every 15 to 20 minutes with the pan juices. Roast hen until golden and juices run clear, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes or internal temperature reads 175 degrees F.

Step 8

Transfer hens and shallots to a platter. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Step 9

On the stovetop, over medium high heat, add port that was drained from the prunes. Scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate all the pan drippings. Bring to a boil and reduce liquid by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to allow flavours to marry and to reduce liquid slightly. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp. butter. The butter will thicken the sauce slightly and add richness.

Step 10

Remove stuffing from cavity and transfer to a bowl. Cut Cornish hens in half, starting at the breast bone, cutting down to the back. Serve ½ a hen per portion, with some of the stuffing, shallots and a drizzle of the pan juices.

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