Recipe: Roast Cornish Game Hens with Herb-Bread Stuffing
Yield: 4 servings
2 oz Good crustless bread; (about -- 4 slices) 5 tb Extra-virgin olive oil; -- divided 1/4 lb Chicken livers; diced Salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 Garlic cloves; minced 1 lg Shallot; minced 1 ts Fresh thyme leaves 2 tb Minced parsley leaves 2 Cornish game hens - (abt 1 -- lb ea); rinsed, dried 1 tb Butter 2 Fresh thyme sprigs 2 Garlic cloves; unpeeled and Lightly crushed
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Place 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet; turn the heat to high. A minute later, add the bread. Toss it until it is golden brown, about 5 minutes, then place it in a bowl. Wipe out the skillet. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and turn the heat to high. Sprinkle the livers liberally with salt and pepper, then toss in the pan. Immediately add the minced garlic, shallot and thyme leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until the liver loses its rawness. Add to the bread; toss with the parsley and lots of salt and pepper. (You may prepare the stuffing in advance; refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 days.) When the stuffing is cool enough to handle, stuff the hens. Truss the birds if you like, or simply close their rear vents with skewers to keep the stuffing from falling out. Season them all over with salt and pepper. Place a Dutch oven or ovenproof casserole over high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, along with the butter. Immediately add the thyme sprigs, lightly crushed garlic cloves, and any scraps from the birds, such as the necks or wing tips. Add the birds and brown lightly on both sides of the breast, then turn the birds onto their backs and place the pan in the oven. Spoon the pan juices over the birds every 5 or 10 minutes. When they are done -- after about 30 minutes of roasting (there should be no traces of pink) -- put them on a platter. Remove the thyme sprigs, garlic and grease from the pan. Place the pan over high heat and add 1/3 cup water; cook for a minute, scraping up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When they are incorporated, pour the jus over the birds. Carve and serve. Yields: 4 servings.
Tester's note: Nice flavor, and the birds cooked fast in the 500 degree oven. I would reduce the amount of olive oil used to saute the bread cubes. There was a little extra stuffing, so I baked it on foil beside the birds. The hens in local markets all weighed about 22 ounces.
Recipe Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch - 11-16-1998 From "Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef" (Broadway Books, $35), coauthored with food writer Mark Bittman
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