The cherry glaze adds beautiful color to the hens. Serve with a side of steamed Broccolini or green beans. For easier clean-up, line the bottom of the broiler pan with foil.
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried sweet cherries
3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed sourdough bread, toasted
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup cherry preserves
1/3 cup port or other sweet red wine
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
4 (1 1/4-pound) Cornish hens
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 475°.
Melt butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup onion, carrot, celery, and poultry seasoning; cook 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth and cherries. Bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes. Combine vegetable mixture, bread cubes, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Stir well to combine; cool completely.
Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, preserves, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer; cook 10 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens under cold water; pat dry. Remove skin; trim excess fat. Working with 1 hen at a time, loosely stuff each hen with about 3/4 cup bread mixture. Tie ends of legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under hen. Repeat procedure with remaining hens and bread mixture; place hens, breast sides up, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Bake at 475° for 15 minutes; remove from oven. Brush hens with preserves mixture; reduce oven temperature to 400°. Bake an additional 35 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into stuffing registers 165°, basting every 10 minutes with preserves mixture. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Remove twine before serving.
Made these for Thanksgiving several years ago and they were FANTASTIC! Because of travel arrangements, I needed something that didn't take hours and hours to prepare for a smaller crowd and still had that "ooh-aah" presentation. The glaze gave these birds a beautiful appearance and wonderful flavor. If you want to impress guests but don't want to spend all day in the kitchen, give this a try!
I halved this recipe and made it for my Thanksgiving (and following night) dinner
for 1. I already had apricot preserves in the fridge so used that, dried apricots, and a sweet white wine. I also made green bean casserole
and pumpkin cheesecake. It really was delicous and allowed me to have a real thanksgiving dinner.
Oh my! Served this Xmas eve rather than traditional turkey and it was DIVINE! I followed the recipe pretty closely (OK, a little heavy on the port but...) and got tons of compliments. Since I had a sort of vegetarian at the table, I set some stuffing aside for her and she devoured it. Will definitely make this again
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