Cranberry-Stuffed Cornish Game Hens
Dried cranberries add plenty of flavor to these Cornish game hens.
- Servings: 6
Photography: James Baigrie
Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2003
- 8 ounces rye bread (about 1/2 loaf), trimmed of crust and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced into half-moons, and rinsed well
- 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean, and coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus leaves (optional), for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup reduced-fat, low-sodium canned chicken broth
- 6 Cornish game hens (1 1/2 pounds each)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup port
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread out diced bread on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven, turning occasionally, until light brown and dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside.
Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add leek, mushrooms, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; stir in bread, chopped sage, parsley, mustard, thyme, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup broth.
Spoon stuffing into bird cavities; tie legs together with kitchen twine. Rub birds with butter, then sprinkle with pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Arrange birds on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Roast until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thighs (avoiding bone) registers 170 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer rack with birds to a rimmed baking sheet, and let rest.
Set roasting pan on top of stove across two burners; set heat to medium-high. Add port and remaining 1/4 cup broth; deglaze pan, scraping up any browned bits from bottom with a wooden spoon. Add remaining 1/4 cup dried cranberries; cook, stirring, until sauce reduces slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.
Place birds on a serving platter, and drizzle sauce over them. Garnish with sage leaves, if desired, and serve.