Cornish Game Hens With Apricot-Fig Stuffing

READY IN: 2hrs 5mins
YIELD: 4 Hens




  • Hens:
  • 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).
  • Stuffing:
  • 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.
  • Glaze:
  • 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.