If you are a turkey hater, and willing to consider a turkeyless Thanksgiving, you may want to consider my invitation to take a peek into my kitchen and my plans for this Thanksgiving.
Out of respect for this holiday and for what the turkey represents, I feel that having a bird on the festive holiday table, and as part of the menu, is meaningful—it’s a reminder of our history. It’s one thing not liking turkey but another thing to suppress the tradition. Thus, a compromised menu can be the right answer for people like me who don’t like turkey but wish to follow tradition.
This year I put together a festive menu that includes a few of Thanksgiving’s traditional dishes like, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and even a cranberry trifle for dessert. However, instead of a big bird, I’m going to have a small bird, a Cornish Hen.
This recipe, which I’m about to share, I use frequently. Not only is it a recipe that will guarantee you a divine, mouth-watering Cornish-hen, but it’s also an excellent solution for parties of two or four when you don’t have the need for 10 pounds of meat.
If you choose to follow this recipe, I can assure you that you will be showered with compliments. Before you know it, you’ll add this to your list of favorites for outside of the holidays.
I created this recipe over twenty years ago, and have made it over and over again.
Michelle’s Stuffed Cornish Hens
2 Cornish hens
1 package of stuffing, chicken flavored
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
3 tablespoons Orange juice, concentrated frozen
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons black currant fruit spread
½ cup ketchup
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 rosemary sprigs
4 thyme sprigs
4 celery stalks, cut in half
4 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare the stuffing following the package directions. Set aside and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix garlic, orange juice, olive oil, honey, black currant spread, ketchup, chicken broth, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Remove the bag with the neck and gizzards from Cornish hens’ cavity. Rinse Cornish hens with cold water.
Place Cornish hens into the bowl with the marinade. Turn the hens to coat all sides with the marinade, making sure marinade gets into the cavity of the birds.
Stuff Cornish hens with stuffing and place in an oven-safe covered pot or deep dish. Place the rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, celery and carrots around and in between the Cornish hens.
Pour remaining marinade over the hens, and cover with the lid.
Place in preheated oven and cook for 90 minutes; baste the hens using a bulb syringe every 15 minutes.
Remove lid and cook for another hour. Remove from oven and let sit for 20 minutes.
Place the Cornish hens on a large platter. Do not remove the stuffing. Cut each hen, vertically, in half so that each hen yields two portions. Arrange carrots on a platter next to hens or serve them in a separate bowl.