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Prep 35 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
*Recipe under Review* My much deliberated main course for a dinner party I hosted in April of 2008. The recipe inspiration came from the William Sonoma website, but the changes my version highlights more of the herb flavors, with the fruit as an accent, rather then vis-versa.
- 4 Cornish hens
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1⁄4 cup minced sage or 1⁄4 cup thyme
- 1⁄3 cup minced rosemary
- 3 -4 cups dried whole wheat french bread or 3 -4 cups other hearty bread
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄3 cup boiling water
- 1⁄3-1⁄2 cup chopped dried fig
- 1⁄3-1⁄2 cup chopped dried apricot
- 4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
- 4 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- 1⁄3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
- 1⁄2 cup apricot jam
- 3 -4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- fresh rosemary sprig (to garnish)
- Preheat an oven to 400°F
- Rinse the birds and pat dry.
- Rub inside and out with the salt and pepper, then with the sage/thyme and rosemary.
- Discard the herbs or, if you prefer, leave some of them clinging to the skin or tucked under the skin. (This is my preference).
- Place half of the bread chunks in a large bowl mixed with the dried figs and apricots, rosemary, thyme, walnuts, salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add the boiling water and pour the mixture over the stuffing mixture, turning it to soak all the pieces, about 10 minutes.
- Mix stuffing well with your hands, forming a bit of a 'paste'.
- Remove 1/2 cup of the paste and set aside.
- Add the remainder of the bread chunks to the main stuffing mixture and stir lightly to incorporate.
- Spoon 1/4 to 1/3 cup stuffing into the cavity of each bird. Do not pack the cavities too full.
- Gently slip your fingers between the skin and the meat of the breast to make a pocket, and tuck some of the 'paste' stuffing under the skin and gently massage the breast of the bird to even it out.
- Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the breasts.
- Place the birds, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 35 minutes.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the jam and vinegar and heat, stirring occasionally, until a syrup forms, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove the birds from the oven and, using a pastry brush, coat them with the glaze.
- Return the birds to the oven and roast until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with the tip of a knife, about 20 - 30 minutes more.
- Remove the birds from the oven, garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve. Serves 4.