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Cornish Hens with Lovage Stuffing


Serves 2


1 small onion, minced

1 carrot, finely diced

⅓ cup fresh lovage, finely chopped (use the tender young shoots and leaves)

2 Tbs salted butter

1 bay leaf

1 sprig fresh thyme

½ cup wild rice

2½ cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


To make stuffing, sauté onion, carrot and lovage in butter for 10 minutes.

Add bay leaf, thyme and wild rice.

Add one cup chicken stock. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a fork to prevent sticking.

When rice is tender, remove thyme sprig, drain off any excess liquid, and set stuffing aside to cool slightly.



Two ¾ pound Cornish hens

2 slices bacon

1½ cups light beer, at room temperature

½ tsp sugar

1 carrot, peeled and cut in fine julienne strips

1 leek, (white part only), washed and cut in fine julienne strips

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350°

While stuffing is cooling, debone hens by turning the hen breast-side down on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut down both sides of the backbone. Remove meat from the rib cage, cutting as close to the bone as possible. Cut away the whole carcass from the meat. Remove the thigh bones from each leg and turn the hen, skin side up. (Your butcher may be able to debone the hens for you.)

Carefully loosen the skin from the meat.

Insert ½ cup of prepared stuffing under the skin of each hen.

Turn hen over and fasten skin closed with a small skewer.

Tuck wing tips under breast and tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.

Place hens breast side up in a shallow baking dish.

Cut bacon slices in half and cover each hen with two strips.

Roast for about 45 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove hens from pan, remove skewers, and keep warm.

Drain off excess grease from the roasting pan; add ½ cup beer to deglaze.

Strain into a saucepan; add remaining 1½ cups chicken stock and set aside.

In a large, heavy skillet, combine remaining one cup beer and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Add the carrot and leek. Cook about three minutes or until just tender.

Lift out the cooked vegetables and keep warm.

Add the vegetable juices to the reserved pan juices and reduce over high heat to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove bacon from the roasted hens.

Place on individual heated serving plates and garnish with julienne vegetables.

Nap hens and vegetables with the reduced sauce.

Oster, Maggie, Gilbertie, Sal. The Herbal Palate Cookbook: Pownal, VT: Storey Communications, 1996.


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