Thyme adds a wonderful flavour to these little hens.
Savoury mushroom stuffing and fresh cranberry sauce
compliment this holiday dinner party entree.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 2 Cornish game hens,
- fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp butter
Ingredients for stuffing:
- 1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms
- 2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp celery, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2-3 grinds fresh black pepper
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
Ingredients for cranberry sauce:
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 2/3 cups white sugar
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 350 bag fresh cranberries
- Begin by making stuffing. Melt butter in a non stick fry pan. Add chopped vegetables and saute until onions are transparent. About 5 minutes. Add thyme and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs. Allow mixture to cool completely before stuffing hens.
- Wash and pat dry hens inside and out. Paper towel works well for this.
- Salt and pepper hens all around and place breast side up in a roasting pan.
- Scoop cooled stuffing into the cavity of each hen. Do not pack it in. If there is left over stuffing, place it into a greased piece of foil and bake along side.
- Melt the 1 tbsp of butter and drizzle over each hen. Strip thyme stems of leaves and sprinkle 1/2 tbsp fresh leaves over each hen. The butter will help them to stick to the skin. Tie the two little drum sticks together with kitchen twin to keep the hen from loosing it's shape and stuffing.
- Bake covered in 400º oven for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 30-40 minutes. To test insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the thigh of the hen, (not touching bone). It should read 180ºF.
Method for cranberry sauce:
- In a small sauce pan stir together orange juice and sugar until sugar is mostly dissolved.
- Add washed fresh cranberries. Over medium heat bring to a slow boil. The berries will begin to make a popping sound as they get hot. Reduce heat and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
- Stir in orange zest. Serve warm.
To serve hens either plate the whole hen and allow guests to share at table, or remove stuffing, and using kitchen shears cut hen in half down the breast bone and divide between plates.
Serving suggestions: garlic mashed potatoes topped with a gravy of mushrooms cream and sherry.
To make this gravy saute sliced mushrooms in a tbsp of butter for about 8 minutes. Add 1 cup of cream and 2 tbsp cooking sherry. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until mixture begins to reduce and thicken. Spoon a small amount over each serving of potatoes.
For vegetables try sugar glazed squash and brussel sprouts, which are not only healthy and delicious but add beautiful colour to your plate.
Garnish plates with fresh parsley, fresh thyme and a few shreds of orange zest.