Cranberry-Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

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  • Servings: 6
Cranberry-Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Place birds on a serving platter, and drizzle sauce over them. Garnish with sage leaves, if desired, and serve.


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