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Glazed Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Couscous Stuffing

Amy Albert

Servings: 6

If you can’t find dried apples for the stuffing, dried plums or cherries are good substitutes.


  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup instant couscous
  • 1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apples
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt; more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Cornish game hens (about 11/2 lb. each), neck and giblets removed and discarded or saved for stock, hens rinsed and patted dry

For the glaze:

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 1260
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 600
  • Fat (g): 66
  • Saturated Fat (g): 22
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 13
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 25
  • Cholesterol (mg): 350
  • Sodium (mg): 1270
  • Carbohydrates (g): 49
  • Fiber (g): 7
  • Protein (g): 106


Make the stuffing:

  • In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until soft, 5 to 7 min.; set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil; remove from the heat. Stir in the couscous, cover, and let sit off heat for 10 min. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Stir in the cooked onion, pistachios, cranberries, apricots, apples, cinnamon, ginger, parsley, salt, and pepper. Set-aside to cool completely.

Stuff the hens:

  • Heat the oven to 425°F. Season the cavity of each hen with salt and pepper. Make sure the stuffing is thoroughly cool and-pack each hen loosely with about 1/2 cup of stuffing. With kitchen twine, tie each hen’s legs together. Tuck the wings underneath. Arrange the-hens breast side up on a wire rack set in a shallow-roasting pan (or two) filled with 1/4-inch water (this will prevent the glaze drippings from smoking).

Glaze and roast the hens:

  • Brush the 2 Tbs. melted butter over the hens; season with salt and pepper. Roast the hens for 20 min. Meanwhile, make the glaze, following the instructions at right. Brush the hens generously with the glaze and continue to roast, basting with more glaze every 10 min., until the juices run clear when you prick the thickest part of the thigh and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170°F, another 30 to 35 min. Transfer the hens to a platter, tent with foil, and let stand for 10 min. before serving.


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Reviews (2 reviews)

  • Casualchef100 | 11/22/2018

    This recipe might be good, I have no idea yet. After following the instructions I just took out two hens, the tops of which were nicely cooked (maybe even a little over-done since the glaze scorched.

    Sadly when I split one of the birds to serve it up it was barely cooked at the bottom. Despite having the oven at a consistent 425 and the thermometer reading 173 in the breast of the bird.
    Stuffing was cool to the touch at the bottom of the bird.

    The water in the bottom of the pan obviously acted as a steam bath and kept the lower part of the bird at 212 or thereabouts.

    What a disaster... Thanksgiving dinner now on hold for at least an hour while we try to recover this fiasco, and of course, all the side dishes will either be cold or dried out.

    One observation, our pan is 2 inches deep... maybe that didn't help, but next time I'll deal with smokey glaze assuming there is a next time.

  • DrDebrah | 11/21/2007

    This recipe is awesome! The Couscous Stuffing with dried fruits is the BEST stuffing I've EVER had.THIS became a part of our yearly Thanksgiving table right after it was first published.Make sure to try the orange glaze ---- it elevates this dish to UBER delicious.

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