Cornish game hens with wild rice stuffing

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time105 mins
  • Serves8
  • DifficultyEasy
90g unsalted butter, divided
40g finely chopped onion
20g finely chopped celery
3g finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
300g cooked wild rice
5g minced flat-leaf parsley, plus sprigs for garnish
35g toasted pecan pieces, broken
20g dried currants
20g dried cranberries
4 dried apricots, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Cornish hens, patted dry
15ml balsamic vinegar
1) In a medium skillet, heat 30g of the butter over a medium-low heat. Saute the onion and celery until softened, about 10 mins. Add the thyme and cook for 1 min more.

2) In a mixing bowl combine the onion mixture with the rice, parsley, nuts and dried fruits and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place 120ml of the stuffing into the cavity of each hen. Tie the legs of each bird together with kitchen twine.

3) Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Melt the remaining butter with the vinegar. Brush the birds all over with the butter/vinegar mixture and season with salt and pepper. Put the hens on a rack in a large roasting pan, breast-side up. Roast the hens until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 80C, about 80 mins.

4) Set the birds aside at room temperature, loosely covered with foil, for 10 mins before carving. Split hens in half through the breast with a sharp knife or poultry shears, and keep the stuffing intact. Arrange birds skin-side up, on a platter, garnish with sprigs of parsley and serve.

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