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Game Hens With Cranberry Stuffing

Christmas 2011 meal

One year I made game hens for Christmas dinner and spent a good chunk of Christmas morning quietly cursing in the kitchen. What was I thinking? It took forever, washing and patting them dry, trying to stuff their slippering little bodies, tieing their recalitrant little legs, and I was serving 13. I swore off game hens for awhile, until my daughter requested them again this year. This time, there were only 4 of us. And I decided to serve the stuffing on the side instead of cooking it inside the hens. Result: easy and delicious!

Game Hens With Maple-Mustard Glaze (courtesy of Epicurious)

  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 4 Cornish game hens
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine first 4 ingredients in small saucepan. Cook over low heat until butter melts, stirring until well combined.

Pat hens dry. Tie legs together to hold shape. Place in small baking pan. Season with salt and pepper. Brush with maple mixture. Roast until juices run clear when hens are pierced in thickest part of thighs, basting occasionally with glaze, about 1 hour.

It was hard to find a recipe for cranberry stuffing that didn't have nuts (my son is allegic) but Betty Crocker came through:

Cranberry Stuffing

1 cup butter or margarine

 3 medium celery stalks (with leaves), chopped (1 1/2 cups)

3/4 cup finely chopped onion
9 cups soft bread cubes (15 slices)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook celery and onion in butter, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Stir in about one-third of the bread cubes. Place in large bowl. Add remaining bread cubes and ingredients; toss.

To bake stuffing separately, place in greased 3-quart casserole or rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Cover and bake at 325°F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.





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