Don't be intimidated by the length of this recipe; it's really four recipes in one.
Cooking Light NOVEMBER 1996
Preheat oven to 350°.
For the hens: Remove and reserve giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens under cold water, and pat dry. Halve hens lengthwise; trim excess fat. Loosen skin from breasts and drumsticks by inserting fingers and gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub 1/2 teaspoon Southern France Spice Mix beneath skin of each hen half. Set aside.
For the stuffing: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add bread cubes and next 7 ingredients (bread cubes through salt); cook 1 minute, stirring until well-blended. Remove from heat.
Arrange bread slices in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Spoon 3/4 cup stuffing mixture onto each bread slice. Place 1 hen half, skin side up, over each mound of stuffing mixture. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
For the sauce: Combine boiling water and 2 tablespoons cranberries in a small bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain.
Cook giblets, necks, 2 tablespoons shallots, and peppercorns in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned. Add apple and cranberry juices; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Strain through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Return liquid to skillet. Combine wine and cornstarch in a bowl; stir well. Add cornstarch mixture, rehydrated cranberries, lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon Southern France Spice Mix to skillet. Bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick; stir constantly. Serve with hens and stuffing. Garnish with parsley and sage, if desired.
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