Cornish Game Hens & Wild Rice Stuffing

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Hands down, Cornish Game Hens & Wild Rice Stuffing is one of my favorite fall meals!  This recipe is pretty easy but makes for a beautiful presentation and it’s a break from the norm.  I usually cut them in half to serve, no one can usually get through a whole one on their own.  Adding the dried cranberries and apricots enhances the wild rice with a little pop of fall colors.  And the slivered almonds adds a crunch with every bite.  Impress your family and friends with this delicious dish!

This is a recipe that I usually make once a year, about this time but sometimes I forget about it.  It’s one that always reminds me of my dad because it’s one we made together in my kitchen during his visits from New Zealand and he always loved it!  I’ve made it slightly different each time because I never found a favorite recipe that offered everything I was looking for in the dish.  I wanted it to be savory and sweet with a slight crunch. I love wild rice…there’s something about the chew and the texture that is magical, especially in this recipe.

A few girlfriends from college were in town last weekend for the Cal-Stanford game, even though we all went to USD…go figure.  They have friends and husbands who are pretty die hard fans.  We hadn’t seen each other in a while and all the sudden, poof, we had 8 kids between us!  I wanted to make something that I could prepare ahead of time so we had time to visit.  When you find recipes like this, hold on to them.  They make entertaining so much more enjoyable when you’re not running around the kitchen in a hot mess.  Everyone else can relax if you’re relaxed.  I consider it one of the best compliments when people come over and say “how are you so cool, calm and collected?”.  In the back of my mind, I know I am pretty A-type and sometimes slightly OCD, so when people notice that I’m calm, I know I’ve got it figured out….give this one a try, you’ll be happy you did!

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Cornish Game Hens & Wild Rice Stuffing
Hands down, Cornish Game Hens & Wild Rice Stuffing is one of my favorite fall meals! This recipe is pretty easy but makes for a beautiful presentation and it's a break from the norm.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1-1/2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1-1/2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Prepare the wild rice stuffing so it has time to cool before stuffing the hens. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add 2 T butter, diced shallot, stir to combine for 2 minutes. Add in slivered almonds, 2 cups wild rice, 3-1/2 cups water and one bouillon cube. These were the proportions of rice to water per the brand I used, yours may be slightly different proportions so double check. The bouillon cube adds a nice flavor instead of just water. Cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, leave lid on and let steam for an additional 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and remove lid to let cool.
  2. Add the diced dried cranberries, apricots, fresh thyme and parsley, salt and pepper to the wild rice and stir to combine.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F. In a small sauce pan, squeeze half an orange, add 2 TBS. apricot preserves and the remaining 2 TBS butter, cook on a low simmer until slightly reduced. Let cool.
  4. Place the hens on the rack, using a pastry brush, brush on the orange, apricot and butter glaze. Salt and pepper each one. Using a large spoon, stuff a few spoonfuls of the wild rice into the cavity of each hen. You will have leftovers, you can place in a separate baking dish to add a little extra to each plate for serving.
  5. Bake on a center rack for about an hour and a half, or using a meat thermometer, until they reach 165F. Check them about halfway through, if they're getting too brown, you can cover the breast with aluminum foil.
  6. To serve, cut each hen in half lengthwise and let the wild rice stuffing fall onto each plate. Add a little extra rice from the baking dish and you have a perfect fall meal!
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