Roast Stuffed Cornish Hens for Two

Published September 1, 1997.

Why this recipe works:

For our best stuffed Cornish hens recipe, we wanted to stuff and roast grocery store–quality Cornish hens in a way that made them look good and taste great. To prevent steaming, we lifted the birds up and out of the roasting pan and onto a wire rack. We also spaced the birds as far apart as… read more

For our best stuffed Cornish hens recipe, we wanted to stuff and roast grocery store–quality Cornish hens in a way that made them look good and taste great. To prevent steaming, we lifted the birds up and out of the roasting pan and onto a wire rack. We also spaced the birds as far apart as possible; crowding food while it's roasting inhibits browning. The ideal roasting temperature, as it turned out, was 400 degrees, with a quick crank up to 450 degrees at the end of cooking to promote browning. For even more color, we opted to glaze the birds with balsamic vinegar; this gave them a pleasant, spotty brown barbecued look. Heating the stuffing in our stuffed Cornish hens recipe before placing it inside the birds let it come up to the proper temperature more quickly during cooking, thereby keeping the breast meat from overcooking.

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Serves 2

Brining the birds breast-side down ensures that the meatiest portions are fully submerged. Pouring a little water into the roasting pan at the 25 minute mark, once the birds have been turned, both prevents them from smoking during cooking and makes instant “jus,” eliminating the need to deglaze the pan over two burners. To enrich the flavor of the jus to use as a sauce, pour it into a small saucepan, spoon off the fat that collects on the surface, and simmer it with a little vermouth or white wine.

Ingredients

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