Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bread Stuffing For Roast Cornish Game Hens

I am so ready for autumn.  Labor Day weekend marks the change from summer to autumn for most of the country... though not for SE Louisiana.  Being a New Yorker I still struggle with the extra month of summer.  Whenever we get a cloudy day during this time of year, I can't resist roasting something in the oven.   We have a tropical storm dropping rain on us so I decided to make a bread stuffing and roast Cornish Game Hens.

Here it is, Oct 2012, I noticed this post getting a considerable amount of hits in the past month or so.  I decided to re-read the recipe for exactness and found I never posted one!  I am sorry.  I know I have a few missing recipes, but I didn't know this was one of them.

As I mentioned, I am a Yankee, and if I am going to stuff a bird, these are the flavors I am craving.  Oh and we call it dressing, not stuffing.  Here in the south, you may be more apt to see a cornbread stuffing or even a rice of some sort served on the side that may have pulverized chicken and oysters or giblets.  I'll just leave it at that.  But if you come to my Thanksgiving table, you will see this.

My father is in charge of making the dressing at family gatherings.  He is an engineer and he has crafted multiples of the very old recipe (some 60+ years) to precise weighs and measurements.  I would be remiss if I didn't share that the recipe begins with the pouring of your favorite libation.  This task always begins following dinner on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Thursday.  I am a bit loser in my style except for the libations part. That is a strict ingredient. 

To some degree I tend to wing the ratios depending on what I am stuffing but in general I use the exact seasonings, just not in the exact quantities.   I save the heals of bread for either my own bread crumbs or for dressing.  Pull all of those bags out of the freezer.  Cube 12 Cups worth of Bread Cubes and place them flat on a sheet pan.  If more is needed, use fresh bread.  If this is done early in the day, they will get dry which is what you want.  Otherwise, this is done at night and allowed to dry out over night.

Clean, peel, and dice 2 Stalks of Celery.  Dice 1 Large Onion.  Melt 1 Stick of Butter over medium in a skillet.  Add vegetables and cook stirring often for about 10 minutes.  While they are cooking, measure out, 2 tsp Poultry Seasoning, 1/2 tsp Sage, 1 tsp Salt, 1/2 tsp White Pepper, 1/4 tsp Paprika, 1/4 Cup Freshly Chopped Parsley and add to the bread cubesIn a small bowl, lightly beat 1 Egg.  Stir in 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth.  Add the cooked vegetables to the bread cubes and stir til combined.  Add the egg and broth and continue to stir.

Preheat oven to 350.  Fill the bird(s) with the dressing without packing it too tightly.  Coat the outside of the hens with 1 Tbl of Butter EachSalt and Pepper the outside.  As the butter melts, you will use this for basting.  If you plan to make gravy, Quarter a Small Onion and peel apart some of the layers and add to the roasting pan.  Roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes basting every 15-20 minutes.

Let rest for 20 minutes before either carving or simply split down the middle in 2.  If there is any leftover dressing, foil line an oven safe dish and place the rest in there, then cover it by overlapping the foil.   This will bake for about 40 minutes in a 350 oven. 

So there you have it, pretty simple and a tradition that I plan to carry on. 


Chef Penny Novak said...

My favorite technique with Cornish Game Hens is to make a braise. I take 2 game hens and I split each hen in half & place in a Dutch Oven where I sear it on each side in a small amount of fat. (I use bacon fat) To the Dutch Oven I add: julienne of red pepper, yellow pepper and orange bell pepper, ciseler of Vidalia onion, fresh carrot curls, whole pitted prunes and dried apricots, one quart of good chicken stock, 1 tbls lemon juice, 1/4 cup fresh orange juice and 1 cup good burgundy wine. Cover Dutch Oven and place in a 325 degree oven and let braise cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Serve over orzo. The meat just falls off the bone. Chef's Secret Tip: You can use a small chicken fryer to save money and it is really good too! Mmmm, Mmmm, Good!

Janice said...

I am going to make this later this week. This is departure from my typical cooking technique. I love the idea of the apricots. I'll let you know how it goes.