Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mini Thanksgiving


I remember eating Cornish game hens when I was little, which means that either my mom or dad had to have made them since I certainly wasn’t stuffing and roasting game hens at such an early age.  Wanting to know how they had prepared them, I called my mom and asked her which one of them had done the cooking.  She said that she had made them.  Then my dad piped up in the background and said he had made them.  Okay, fine…well, were they stuffed?  My mom said no, my dad said yes.  Sigh.  This wasn’t going well.  So either my mom made them or my dad did, and they were either stuffed or not stuffed.  Very informative phone call.

Since nobody can remember or agree on anything about the dish other than the fact that we did in fact eat Cornish game hens many years ago, I won’t be remaking a childhood favorite so much as just trying a dish I haven’t had in twenty years.

With Thanksgiving coming up, I figured this was a good opportunity to try out an idea for stuffing that’s been rolling around in my head for a while.  A combination of sweet and savory with a little heat thrown in for fun.  (I know that it’s technically not stuffing when you’re not actually stuffing a bird, but I can’t get on board with the term “dressing.”  It makes me think of salad.)

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Spicy Gingered Stuffing

Cornish Hens:


Cornish game hens, rinsed and dried
onion slices
apple slices
melted butter
salt and pepper

Loosely stuff a few apple and onion slices into the cavity of each bird.  Tuck wings under body and tie legs together*. Brush the hens with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, basting with more melted butter every 20 minutes.  After an hour, turn the oven up to 400 degrees and roast another 10-15 minutes to let the skin crisp.


Stuffing:

4 cups small diced French bread
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup sliced leek
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 serrano pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 apple, peeled and sliced
1 pear, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper
heavy cream
white wine
2 tablespoons parsley

Spread bread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove and reserve in a large mixing bowl.

In a large pan, melt butter and add onion, leek, garlic, celery and serrano pepper.  Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions and celery are softened.  Stir in ginger, then add apples and pears.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples and pears are softened.  Check seasonings.  Remove from heat.


Stir hot apple mixture into bread cubes.  Add cream and wine so bread is moistened to your liking (I used several tablespoons of each).  Stir in parsley and check seasonings once more. 


Butter individual ramekins (or one large dish) and fill with stuffing.  Put in the oven with the hens for the last ten minutes of cooking time.

*I use Stretch Cooking Bands instead of string to truss poultry/meats.  They are oven safe up to 600 degrees and are washable and reusable…so much easier than dealing with tying string!

The house smelled amazing while this meal was cooking…just like Thanksgiving.  And when these little babies came out of the oven all browned and crisp, our mouths were watering.  The meat was incredibly moist and tender and the stuffing was just what I’d hoped for.  Apple and pear flavors gave a touch of sweetness, and the ginger and serrano came in at the end with a punch. 

This spicy stuffing is definitely making the Thanksgiving roster. 


As for the hens, maybe they weren’t exactly like the ones I had as a child, but they sure were good…and now I can be “the one who made the Cornish game hens.”

35 comments:

  1. Love the sound of the stuffing! I'm so excited to see everyone's thanksgiving meals; it's such a foreign concept for me

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  2. looks delicious, I just simply love chicken :)

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  3. Wow, this looks really delicious! I love chicken and this looks good, wish I was at your table!

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  4. Confession - I've never had a Cornish game hen. I've really got to try it and your recipe makes roasting one look so easy!

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  5. What pretty little hens! Everything about these sounds appetizing!

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  6. Karen, I love what you've done here. Ginger in the stuffing? I can taste the warmth and zing from here. I haven't prepared cornish hens myself, but my Mum often did. (Love the legs tied together primly) :)

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  7. Karen, I love cornish game hens! I made them for Christmas last year. These look delicious - and your stuffing recipe looks fantastic - I love the addition of apples and ginger!

    Erin

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  8. These hens are adorable and look SO YUMMY! I'm like you in I like to test out recieps (for stuffing, etc) prior to Thanksgiving BUT my husband has a rule we can't eat anything Thanksgiving'ish in Oct or Nov (until of course the actual day).

    I guess I love that he thinks about food enough to care about such a thing...but still...

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  9. There's a Pavlov affect that happens when I see the word ginger in a recipe. It draws me right to it. That dressing looks amazing. I can just imagine how it would infuse the hens with flavor. Thank you for this recipe!

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  10. We don't have Thanksgiving in Greece but those pictures made me want to celebrate as well.

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  11. Ginger is an interested addition to the stuffing. I think it would go nicely with the apple--and their *must* be apple in stuffing!

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  12. Lol. Love family memories of cooking. Always a little off. Great recipe. Love the ginger addition.

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  13. Your stuffing sounds divine! I also love your cute little Cornish hens. My kids always asked me to make them and I don't think I ever did. I may surprise them with some of these when they come home for Thanksgiving. :)

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  14. I just bought some game hens the other day and was going to look for recipes. These look so good! I've never heard of the cooking bands... I'll have to look for them.

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  15. Mouth-watering...these look amazing! I am smitten with the gingerbread stuffing. Very creative and delicious!

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  16. My husband made game hens for his birthday,and the house smelled wonderful. He didn't "stuff" them either, or make dressing. Your recipe for the "stuffing" looks so good, but he likes sage stuffing. We might have to make two different batches this Thanksgiving:)

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  17. Thanks for the visit to my blog and the comment. We l-o-v-e- Oregon wine and food. Good catch on the Argyle. We have 2 bottles of Argyle 2005 Spirit House which is Dundee Hill. And they're just waiting to get drank. :-) We've already drank 2003 Nuthouse which I unwittingly bought and ended up being a Wine Spectator top 100.

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  18. The cornish game hens must have tasted great as they look so crisp, yet so succulent and tender.

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  19. This looks delicious and easy to cook. It’ll be a great dish to try as we are expecting guests this weekend. I’m positive that they’ll like it. Thank you for sharing.

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  20. This looks wonderful! I love the addition of apples. I've considered making Cornish game hens for Thanksgiving before but I have never actually made them before, or eaten them for that matter. Thanks for the recipe!

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  21. Dear Karen,
    Thank you very much for your message on my blog.
    Especially because you have got a beautiful blog.
    It will become for me ispiration source.
    thank you and ciao
    Barbara

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  22. OOh, that chicken looks nice, even to this vegetarian (smile)!

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  23. This looks wonderful--I don't think anyone in my family has ever made cornish game hens! Stuffing is my favourite part, and yours sounds fantastic with the ginger.

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  24. Fabulous job, it looks fantastic!

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  25. I have not yet tried to make a cornish game hen. But one of these days I'd like to! The stuffing sounds fantastic! Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I do hope that you will return. Nice to "meet" you!

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  26. I love cornish game hens! Haven't had any in years, but I think I'll have to rectify that.

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  27. They're so cute! I think the stuffing sounds fabulous, too...I love a little kick! Delicious :D

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  28. Wow, Karen. Poifect! I love the ginger, apple, pear combo. And, again, you've made great use of another oft overlooked veggie - leeks.

    I'd be letting my ChileBomb-ness slide if I didn't mention the serrano peppers. Aren't they great? Almost like a jalapeno with the spiciness of cayenne.

    Cheers!
    Matt Kay

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  29. I've never made Cornish game hens but they are a long-standing tradition in my family. Maybe I should try the little suckers :)

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  30. I love all the combination of flavors. I've never made them but they look really good. The stuffing sounds like the best part!

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  31. I haven't had Cornish game hens in a few years. You reminded me of how good they are. I love your flavor combination selection. I confess, the stuffing is my favorite part!:)

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  32. Hehe, your parent ssound like mine. They can never agree, even after 36 years of marriage. Either way your mini Thanksgiving feast looks delicious! There are only 2 of us and this would be perfect instead of a giant turkey.

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  33. Those are some good-looking hens - so plump and juicy looking! Yum!!

    Best,
    Veronica

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  34. i love cornish hens! they are just so little and cute.. this recipe looks delicious!:)

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