Cornish Game Hens with Oven Dried Figs
- 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves, about 3 (6-inch) sprigs, plus 4 fresh rosemary sprigs outside of Hens
- 1/2 cup peeled and loosely packed chopped garlic
- ½ cup grape seed oil
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper, plus for seasoning
- 3 limes, zested and juiced, about 1/2 cup juice
- 3-4 cups dried whole wheat French bread or 3 -4 cups other hearty bread
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 1/3-1/2 cup chopped dried fig
- 1/3-1/2 cup chopped dried apricot
- 4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
- 4 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
- Pan sauce from baking Cornish Hens (will yield about ½ cup)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 sprig Thyme
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp Flour
- ½ cup Chicken stock
- 1 tbsp Dry sherry
Directions for the Cornish Hen Marinade:
- In a food processor or blender, add the rosemary, garlic, balsamic and soy. Pulse several times to combine, and then add the black pepper and the limejuice. Pulse, then stir in the lime zest.
- Put it in a resealable gallon plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Strain and discard the marinade.
Directions for stuffing:
- Place half of the bread chunks in a large bowl mixed with the dried figs and apricots, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add the boiling water and pour the mixture over the stuffing mixture, turning it to soak all the pieces, about 10 minutes.
- Mix stuffing well with your hands, forming a bit of a 'paste'.
- Remove 1/2 cup of the paste and set aside.
- Add the remainder of the bread chunks to the main stuffing mixture and stir lightly to incorporate
- Spoon 1/4 to 1/3 cup stuffing into the cavity of each bird. Do not pack the cavities too full.
- Gently slip your fingers between the skin and the meat of the breast to make a pocket, and tuck some of the 'paste' stuffing under the skin and gently massage the breast of the bird to even it out.
- Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the breasts.
Directions for baking the hens:
- After stuffing, place the birds, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Desired temperature will be 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the Hens from the oven. Transfer Hens from pan to a cutting board and let rest lightly covered for 10 to 15 minutes.
Directions for the Cornish Hen Pan Sauce:
- While the Hens are resting, remove the pan juice from the roasting pan and set aside
- Sauté shallots until translucent.
- Add 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour
- Add in the sherry and stir just long enough to cook off alcohol, 3 to 5 minutes
- You will have make what is called a "roux" at this point
- Add in your strained pan juice
- Add your sprigs of Thyme and Rosemary, Dijon mustard and cook down until the sauce thickens
- Add salt and pepper and then add remaining butter
- Whisk until uniform and strain one last time
- Half the Hens and arrange it on a desired plate. Serve the sauce with the hens.
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