Plymouth Rock chicken
Cornish Game hen
and total aside – Victor Borge was an early promoter of the little bird.
Rock Cornish Game Hens with Wild Rice Stuffing
4 Rock Cornish game hens
6 Tablespoons butter – divided
½ C finely chopped onion
3 Tablespoons finely chopped celery (keep in mind the size of the birds….teeny bitty bits!)
1 ½ Cups cooked wild rice
1/3 Cup toasted chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
4 dried apricots, once again, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Thaw the birds if their frozen. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel inside and out. Lightly season insides with salt and pepper.
Toast the pecans in a hot frying pan; they only take a minute, not more than two. When they smell good, they’re done! Be careful not to scorch them. This step isn’t critical, but it really adds a depth of flavor, so well worth the extra few minutes and the dirty pan.
I use a little food processor to chop everything, first the celery, and the onion, then the fruits and nuts – just takes a pulse or two. All of this is going inside the little birds, so keep proportions in mind.
Preheat the oven 400° F.
Sauté onion and celery in2 Tablespoons butter until fragrant and translucent. Mix the onions, celery, wild rice, pecans and fruits together.
Stuff the mixture into the birds – about ½ Cup stuffing per bird. Because these birds are so small they don’t need to be tied, sewn ar laced closed. Put them in a baking dish breast side up.
Mix the remaining 4 Tablespoons butter with balsamic vinegar. Put on top of the birds – this is their baste and their sauce.
Cook about 80 minutes or until internal temp is 170°.
After you take them from the oven, let them rest under loosely tented foil 10 minutes and serve.
My then 15 year old son had had this for Thanksgiving with his aunt and requested it for Christmas. Actually, he said it would be good anytime! Auntie downloaded some recipes from Food Network website, and this was, more or less, among them.
Rock Cornish Hens are a cross between a Cornish Game Hen and a Plymouth Rock chicken, very modern and very American. Who knew?