Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.
Cornish game hens stuffed offer a delicious, gourmet alternative to holiday turkey. They are easy to prepare, and a delight for guests to see on the plate. Garnish with a splash of fresh cranberry sauce, and serve with Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, or oven roasted vegetables, and you've got yourself the makings of a holiday feast.
Many butchers carry fresh game hens, especially at this time of year, so go out of your way to find some. If you have a choice, organic free-range hens are best. If you must use frozen, or packaged game hens, make sure that any additives use to treat them do not include gluten.
This recipe makes four hens, which can serve up to six people, but I like to make one per person whenever possible.
4 Cornish game hens, fresh
1 cup melted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons basil, fresh, chopped fine
1 tablespoon thyme, fresh, chopped fine
1 teaspoon oregano, fresh chopped fine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a medium bowl combine the ½ cup melted butter, onion, celery, mushrooms, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme and parsley.
Season hens inside and out with salt and pepper, then stuff with buttered vegetables. Place stuffed birds in a 9x13 inch baking dish, breast side up.
Baste with ¼ cup melted butter.
Cover dish and bake 325 degrees F for 1½ hours.
Remove cover and brown birds for a minute or two under a broiler at 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
Note: These hens are also delicious when stuffed with Celiac.com's Best Gluten-free Stuffing. Just wash the bird, season with salt and pepper, stuff each bird, baste with butter and bake as above.