Nostalgic retro food is in. Stuffed Cornish hens were all the rage in the 70’s. One of the first fancy dinners I prepared was in 1977. The entrée was Cornish hen stuffed with herbs and wild rice pilaf. To modernize our recipe for a recent plated dinner event we stuffed the hen with quinoa, sundried cherries and leeks and served with blackberry jus and spring vegetables.
This is the perfect party entrée because you can stuff it the day before, refrigerate and then simply pop it in a 375˚F degree oven about 50 minutes before you want to serve it. Depending on the size of the hen it will take 30 – 40 minutes. Test for doneness with a meat thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 170˚F degree take them out, tent them with foil to keep warm.
We prepared ours with a blackberry jus but these are delicious without a sauce as well. Simply stuff the hen’s cavity with fresh herbs such as sage, thyme and rosemary and some lemon slices, rub the skin with unsalted butter and season with salt and pepper. Once cooked brush with a little olive oil and season with more fresh herbs. Hens can be stuffed bone in or out, if you want to be extra fancy have your butcher debone the hen, just leaving the leg and wing bone in.
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Photo: Sous Chef Linda Olson