I've made this cornish hen stuffed with cornbread before and it turned out fantastic, so here I am trying it once more. I love the fact that everyone at the table gets there own little bird, growing up in a house-hold where food is served almost every night family-style this concept of 'one-bird-per-person' is fun.
I began by prepping, as I always do. The recipe is for 6 servings and as I only needed 2 servings I scaled down the recipe accordingly. I also played around with the stuffing recipe a little bit, omitting some things and substituting them with others- it's a fun way to experiment plus I had a lot of other ingredients I needed to use up.
I sauteed chopped onions in a little bit of olive oil until translucent.
Then added the sauteed onions to the bowl of thyme, cornbread and yellow onions, added chicken stock and mixed it all together.
I decided at the last minute to fold in a handful of golden raisins and a handful of chopped walnuts to the stuffing- just a couple of other ingredients I also had sitting around.
I laid out sliced onions in the baking pan.
I then laid my cleaned and thoroughly dried hen (the dried part is very important if you want your hen to brown) on top of the onions, salt & peppered the cavity and stuffed the hen with the cornbread mixture. It was my first time tying the legs of the hen together and I think I did an OK job but I think next time I'll make sure to cut a long piece of string, this would have made it so much easier. I smeared butter on the outside of the chicken and sprinkled salt and pepper on it and then popped it into the oven for 1 hour. When the hen was done cooking I covered the chicken with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the fully cooked hen... intact.
I had gotten so excited about the beautiful hen, and it really DID look beautiful, it browned very nicely. I bought a rather expensive organic cornish hen from Whole Foods for this recipe and it was absolutely delicious- FLAVORFUL! It truly made a difference! And healthier for you too! The skin on the hen was crispy, the meat was moist and soft and the stuffing was heated all the way through, although I do have to admit that my tweaked cornbread stuffing wasn't as tasty as the original recipe.
The cornish hens were about two pounds each, Mr. Borscht and I found that we couldn't finish them, but it turned out alright. I cooled the hens in the refrigerator over night and then the next day made chicken salad from the rest of the meat that was left, it worked out better than I imagined! I felt as if I got two meals in one!
Cornish hens with cornbread stuffing from Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook:
Ingredients for 6 servings:
For the stuffing:
1 Stick of unsalted butter (1/4lb)
1 Cup chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 Cups medium-diced celery (I used yellow bell-pepper instead)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsely (I used thyme instead)
5 Cups coarsely crumbled cornbread
1/2 Cup chicken stock
For the hens:
6 Fresh cornish hens (1.25 - 1.5lb each)
2 Cups sliced yellow onions
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Make the stuffing by melting the butter in a saute pan that can hold the onions and cook on med-low heat for about 8 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Add the cooked onions to the celery, parsley, cornbread and chicken stock in a separate bowl and mix well (I added yellow raisins, thyme instead of parsley and also some crushed walnuts into the stuffing- have fun with it! Just don't add any meats to the stuffing).
Prepare the hens by removing any pins and feathers if any, rinse the hens inside and out, and pat the outside of the hens dry.
Toss the sliced onions into a roasting pans that can hold the hens loosely and placed the hens on top, breast-side up.
Sprinkle the insides of the hens with salt and pepper and stuff loosely with the prepared stuffing.
Tie the legs of the hen together and tuck the wings under the body (tying the legs together isn't necessary but will help with roasting the hen evenly without slightly burning any parts).
Brush the outside of the hen with butter (I used my hands to smear the butter on the hens since I don't have brush- it worked really well albeit a tiny bit more of a hassle).
Sprinkle the outside of the hens with salt and pepper.
Roast in the hens in the oven for 50-60 minutes, the skin should be brown and juices should run clear when cut between leg and thigh.
Remove the hens from the oven when done roasting, cover with foil and let it sit for 15 minutes (out of the oven).