Use the crockpot to make no-fuss stuffed Cornish game hens (also known as Rock Cornish game hens because they are a hybrid of Cornish and White Rock chickens). They look just like miniature chickens and have the same flavor, but they are petite, weighing only from 1 to 2 pounds (standardized grocery-store varieties are about 1 1/4 pounds). The bone-to-meat ratio is high, which means you should plan to serve 1 whole game hen per person.
Use a stuffing mix for expediency or make your own (I've cut my Basic Bread Stuffing Recipe in half and given the proportions below). Finish this dish with an easy orange-honey glaze for a company-worthy dish.
- 4 Cornish game hens
- Dash of salt and pepper
- 8 ounces stuffing mix (or make homemade stuffing, see below)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 large orange (cut up)
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Generous pinch black pepper
- 1/2 large loaf (3/4 pound) stale white bread
To Prepare the Game Hens
- Rinse 4 Cornish game hens.
- Sprinkle inside of the cavity and outside with salt and pepper.
- Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions or make homemade stuffing.
- Proceed to step 3, below.
To Make Basic Homemade Stuffing
- Sauté 1/2 cup diced celery and 1/2 cup chopped onions in 2 tablespoons butter until softened.
- Remove from heat. Stir in 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken broth, 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous pinch of black pepper.
- Let cool to room temperature.
- Cut bread into 1-inch cubes.
- Add to the cooled chicken broth mixture and gently toss to combine.
- Proceed with the recipe.
To Fill the Game Hens
- Spoon packaged stuffing or homemade stuffing into hens and truss.
- Place neck ends down in the crockpot so the legs are sticking up.
To Make the Sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup chicken stock, 1 large cut-up orange, 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon orange zest.
- Baste game hens with some of the sauce and place them neck-end down in the crockpot so the legs are sticking up.
- Pour remainder of sauce over the game hens in the pot.
To Cook the Game Hens
- Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours.
- Baste hens once or twice during cooking.
- Remove hens from crockpot and remove the trussing strings.
- Spoon pan sauce over hens at the serving time.
Recipe Source: Hilltop Restaurant & Herb Farm, Romayor, Texas. Reprinted with permission.