Cornish Hens With Oregano Pesto And Quinoa Stuffing

Author: Canadian Living

  • Portion size 8 servings

Ingredients

Cornish hens:
  • 4 Cornish hens (1 1/2 lb/750 g each)
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 whole head garlic
Oregano Pesto:
  • 3/4 cups packed fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaf
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
Quinoa Stuffing:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 celery stalk (including leaves),diced
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup hot vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas thawed
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper

Method

Quinoa Stuffing:
In saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, celery and carrots, stirring often for 10 minutes.

In strainer, rinse quinoa under cold water; drain well and add to pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add water, bay leaf and lemon rind and juice; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Discard bay leaf. Stir in peas; season with salt and pepper.

Oregano Pesto:
In food processor, finely chop together parsley, oregano and Parmesan. With motor running, drizzle in oil until thick paste forms. Stir in garlic. Gently stir 1/4 cup (50 mL) into quinoa stuffing mixture.

Cornish Hens:
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

Cut neck from each hen; rinse and pat dry inside and out. Spoon 3/4 cup (175 mL) stuffing into cavity of each hen; fold skin over and secure with poultry pin. Place remaining stuffing in baking dish; cover with foil. Tie legs together; tuck wings under back. Starting at neck end, loosen skin from each breast and thigh to form pocket.

Stuff remaining pesto into pockets, patting to spread over breast and thigh. Place, breast side up, with just wings touching, on rack on rimmed baking sheet. Brush with 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour in stock and 1 cup (250 mL) water. Roast, basting once, for 30 minutes.

Cut tops from garlic heads; brush with remaining butter. Add to rack. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes or until juices run clear when thigh is pierced and meat thermometer registers 185°F (85°C). Transfer to platter; tent with foil. Let stand for 10 minutes. Bake remaining stuffing. Raise oven temperature to 425°F (220°C) for 10 minutes or until hot.

Meanwhile, pour pan juices into saucepan; skim off fat. Squeeze 2 of the roasted garlic cloves into pan; mash with fork. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes or until reduced to 3/4 cup (175 mL); strain.

To serve, cut hens along each side of backbone; discard backbone. Cut through breastbone into halves. Serve with stuffing, garlic and pan juices.

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Cornish Hens With Oregano Pesto And Quinoa Stuffing

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