Pomegranate-Glazed Cornish Game Hens with Pine-Nut-and-Currant Bread Stuffing

Pomegranate-Glazed Cornish Game Hens with Pine-Nut-and-Currant Bread Stuffing Recipe

Maria devised this Cornish game hens recipe to be customized—even for each guest. Substitute chestnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans for the pine nuts and any dried fruit for the currants. Larger fruits should be diced into small pieces before adding to the mix. The bacon can be omitted or you can substitute a small amount (4 ounces) of pork sausage.–David Leite

Pomegranate-Glazed Cornish Game Hens with Pine-Nut-and-Currant Bread Stuffing Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • For the pine-nut-and-currant stuffing
  • 1/2 loaf peasant bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 slices thick bacon, cut into 1/8-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled chicken stock
  • For the Cornish game hens
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice (POM & R.W. Knudsen, preferred)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, cracked
  • Four 22-ounce fresh or thawed Rock Cornish game hens
  • Salt
  • Herb-scented Pine-Nut-and-Currant Bread Stuffing
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken stock

Directions

  • Make the pine-nut-and-currant stuffing
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Spread the bread cubes in one layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until crisp and golden on the edges. Remove and let cool.
  • 2. In a large saute pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Add the onions and celery and saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, translucent, and starting to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the pine nuts, currants, and the chopped herbs. Transfer to a small bowl.
  • 3. In the same pan over medium heat, saute the bacon until golden but still chewy. Pour the bacon and pan drippings into the vegetable mixture. Let cool.
  • 4. Add the vegetable mixture to the bread cubes, along with the chicken stock. Allow the bread to absorb the stock and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in the refrigerator tightly wrapped until ready to use.
  • Prepare the Cornish game hens
  • 5. Mix the pomegranate juice, sugar, and black pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to about 3/4 cup. Pour the glaze into a heatproof measuring cup. Cool and reserve. The glaze can be made up to one week in advance.
  • 6. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C) and adjust the rack to the middle of the oven.
  • 7. Rinse the game birds inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Snip off the tails and remove any excess fat around the body cavity and neck.
  • 8. Salt the cavities of the game hens and fill each with 1/2 cup of the stuffing. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wing tips underneath.
  • 9. Season the outside of game hens well with salt. (The glaze contains plenty of pepper, so no additional pepper is needed.) Place the hens on a rack in a large roasting pan, or on a baking sheet with a lip, making sure they’re not touching. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 400°F (200°C) and add enough chicken stock to the pan to cover the bottom by about 1/2 inch. Brush the game hens well with the glaze.
  • 10. Continue to roast the hens for 45 minutes, brushing with the glaze every 15 minutes. Five minutes before removing the birds from the oven, give a final brush of glaze.
  • 11. Transfer the game hens to a platter and untie their legs. Let rest, tented with foil, for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, strain the pan juices into a small saucepan and reduce over high heat to concentrate the flavor. For a sweeter taste, add a tablespoon or two of the pomegranate glaze before reducing. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if necessary. Serve alongside the game hens.

Note

  • To cook the remaining stuffing, place it in a well-buttered heatproof dish with a 5-cup capacity and cover with aluminum foil. Place in the oven 20 minutes before the birds are finished. When the birds are removed, uncover the stuffing, stir, and continue baking for 10 minutes to brown the top. Right before serving, drizzle on some of the strained pan juices and fluff with a fork.
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Comments
Comments
  1. My sister/baker Lisa Yockelson (Chocolate Chocolate) always sends me recipes when she finds ones she especially loves. I lost no time in making this one, in fact, I loved it so much I’ve already made it twice. Elliott and I eat like birds–even birds! so instead of the cornish game hens I got ONE poussin (baby chicken smaller than cornish game hen. I was a step ahead having made a bacon bread the day before so instead of having to fry the bacon, I just turned the bread into cubes. This pignoli, currant stuffing is so fantastic I made extra and served it as the vegetable

    This will be a permanent part of my favorite recipes collection.

    • Beth Price, LC Recipe Testing Director says:

      So glad that you liked the dish! I just adore anything with pine nuts and their presence in the stuffing is so wonderful.

      Beth

    • David Leite says:

      Rose, I remember when we first posted the recipe. The One and I made it over and over again. We love it.

  2. Cindi Kruth, LC Recipe Tester says:

    This recipe has been on my “to try” list for a while. Now, with thumbs up from two of my favorite culinary experts, Rose Levy Beranbaum and Lisa Yockelson (didn’t know you two were related), I will definitely shop for the ingredients on my next trip.

    I found your note about poussin very interesting. When I was young my daddy used to bring home what he called Cornish hens from his market, but they were tiny, definitely less than a pound. I was always tickled to have my very own whole bird. Today, the Cornish hens all seem so large I consider half of one a serving. I keep looking for those tiny birds of decades ago. Maybe I’m really looking for something different, the poussin.

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