Festive Stuffed Cornish Game Hens
These plump golden birds decorate holiday platters beautifully. Crusty ciabatta bread, moistened by juicy orange sections, makes wonderful stuffing.—Lisa Speer, Palm Beach, Florida
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 2 cups cubed ciabatta bread
- 3 medium navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 4 Cornish game hens (20 to 24 ounces each)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, saute onion and celery in butter and 1 tablespoon oil until tender. Add the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 1 minute longer.
- 2. In a large bowl, combine the bread, oranges, cranberries, pecans and orange zest. Add onion mixture; toss to coat.
- 3. Loosely stuff hens with stuffing. Tuck wings under hens; tie drumsticks together. Rub with remaining oil; sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper. Place breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
- 4. Roast 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until a thermometer reads 165° when inserted in center of stuffing and the thigh reaches at least 180°, basting hens occasionally with orange juice. Cover loosely with foil if hens brown too quickly. Cover and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
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