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Holiday Hens with Fig Glaze and Cornbread Stuffing

Holiday Hens with Fig Glaze and Cornbread Stuffing
PREP TIME
25 min
COOK TIME
1h
YIELDS
4 servings

Change up the ordinary turkey or ham main and try making Cornish game hens for your holiday meal, complete with a California fig glaze and homemade, easy cornbread stuffing.

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Ingredients

Figs

1 ½
cups dried California figs, pitted and roughly chopped
¼
cup honey
2
Tbsp lemon juice
3
cups warm water
½
cup balsamic vinegar
1
stick unsalted butter, for the glaze
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stuffing

2
Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1
small onion, finely chopped
1
tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
¼
lb(s) loose sweet Italian sausage
2
Tbsp all-purpose flour
4
cornbread muffins, torn into pieces, or ½ loaf cornbread, cubed (about 2 cups)
1
cup rehydrated dried figs, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
½
egg, lightly beaten
¼
cup heavy cream
½
cup chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
4
Cornish game hens, 1 to 1 ½ lbs each
4
Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
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Directions

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Step 2

Begin by re-hydrating the figs. In a large mixing bowl add the figs, honey, lemon juice and cover with warm water. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 to 25 minutes until the figs are tender and soft. Strain the figs and reserve the liquid – as this will be the base for the glaze.

Step 3

To make the stuffing, heat a little extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat and gently saute the onions with rosemary. Add the sweet Italian sausage and continue to saute until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. When done, scrape it all into a large mixing bowl, add the cornbread pieces and figs and season well with salt and pepper. Give it a good toss until it’s well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, and stock, and pour that over the cornbread. Stir the stuffing together and set it aside while you work on the hens.

Step 4

Wash and clean the birds. Season the cavities with salt and pepper and fill with stuffing. Dot the top of each bird with butter and season with salt and pepper. Lay out on a roasting tray and pop into the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. While they are roasting, set the fig liquid over medium-high heat and add balsamic and butter. Reduce until syrupy and baste the birds with 10 minutes to go. When done, an instant-read thermometer should registers 160ºF in the thickest part of the thigh. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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My rating for Holiday Hens with Fig Glaze and Cornbread Stuffing
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