Pomegranate-Glazed Cornish Game Hens with Wild Rice-Chestnut Stuffing and Yogurt Sauce


This delicious recipe for pomegranate-glazed Cornish game hens with wild rice-chestnut stuffing and yogurt sauce comes courtesy of chef Cat Cora.


  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • cup coarsely chopped chestnuts (either fresh or from a jar or can), toasted

  • ½ cup finely chopped onion

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

  • 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

  • 4 Cornish game hens, rinsed and patted dry

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice

  • 2 cups homemade or canned store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • ½ cup white wine, optional

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds

  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine rice, 3 cups cold water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, 45 to 55 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with rack in center of the oven. Transfer rice to a large bowl, along with chestnuts, onion, thyme, sage, parsley, and dill; stir to combine. Lightly season the cavity of each game hen with salt, and loosely fill with equal amounts of stuffing, leaving a little space in each for the rice to expand during roasting. Any remaining stuffing may be baked in a covered heatproof dish; set aside.

  3. Using kitchen twine, truss hens by tying the legs together tightly, looping each side of the string around a wing, and bringing the string all the way around the bird tightly to hold the legs together and the wings close to the body.

  4. Season hens with salt and pepper, and place breast side down on a rack set in a roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes, and baste with pomegranate juice. Continue basting with remaining pomegranate juice every 15 to 20 minutes. During the last 25 minutes of roasting, place the reserved stuffing into the oven to heat. When 10 minutes remain, flip the hens over and continue roasting until the hens are dark golden brown and the juices run clear when pierced at the thigh. Total cooking time for hens will be 50 to 55 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone, should register 175 degrees to 180 degrees.

  5. Remove hens and stuffing from the oven. Transfer hens to a platter. Cover with foil, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Place roasting pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from the roasting pan. Add wine, if using. Sift flour into the roasting pan, and stir to combine. Slowly whisk in 1 1/2 cups stock. Cook until mixture has thickened, 5 to 6 minutes. The consistency of the gravy may be adjusted with a teaspoon or two of stock or wine. Season with salt and pepper.

  6. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, and olive oil. Gently stir in the mint and pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and pepper.

  7. Place a hen on each of 4 plates. Spoon gravy over hens and garnish with parsley, feta cheese, additional stuffing, and yogurt sauce.

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