Cornish Hens with Quinoa Stuffing

Photography, © Foodivine studio

  • Prep time 1 hour & 15 minutes
  • Total time 2 hours & 5 minutes
  • Portion size 8 servings
  • Credits : Canadian Living Magazine: November 2022


Quinoa Stuffing:
Oregano Pesto:
Cornish Hens:


Quinoa Stuffing

In saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery and onion; cook, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add quinoa; cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add water, bay leaf, lemon zest and juice. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Using fork, fluff quinoa. Discard bay leaf; stir in peas. Season with salt and pepper.

Oregano Pesto

Meanwhile, in food pro­cessor, pulse parsley, oregano and Parmesan until finely chopped. With motor running, drizzle in oil until thick paste forms. Scrape sides of container, if necessary. Stir in garlic. Gently stir 1/4 cup pesto into Quinoa Stuffing. Set stuffing and remaining pesto aside. (Make-ahead: Can be stored in airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.)

Cornish Hens

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut necks from each hen and discard. Rinse and pat dry inside and out. Starting at neck end, loosen skin from each breast and thigh to form pocket, taking care not to tear skin (leave other side intact). Slip remaining pesto between skin and flesh of hens; distribute evenly.

Spoon 3/4 cup reserved Quinoa Stuffing into cavity of each hen; fold skin over and secure with poultry pin or toothpick. Tie legs with twine and fold wings under back. Place remaining stuffing in baking dish; cover with foil and set aside. Place hens, breast side up, with just wings touching, on rack on roasting pan. Brush stuffed hens with 2 tbsp of the melted butter. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in broth and 1 cup water. Roast, basting hens with cooking juices halfway through cooking time, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut tops from garlic heads; brush with remaining melted butter. Add to rack. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 185°F and juices run clear when pierced with fork, 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer to platter, tent with foil. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, increase oven temperature to 425°F; cook remaining reserved Quinoa Stuffing until heated through, about 10 minutes. Pour pan juices into saucepan; skim off fat. Add 2 roasted garlic cloves; mash with fork. Boil until juices have reduced to about 3/4 cup,
1 to 2 minutes; strain.

To serve, cut hens along each side of backbone; discard backbone or reserve for another use. Cut through breastbone into halves. Serve with Quinoa Stuffing, roasted garlic and pan juices. (Make-ahead: Can be stored in airtight container and frozen for up to 1 month.)

Nutritional facts PER SERVING

  • Calories 420
  • Total fat 23 g
  • Saturated fat 5 g
  • Cholesterol 105 mg
  • Sodium 250 mg
  • Total carbohydrate 16 g
  • Fibre 2 g
  • Sugars 3 g
  • Protein 37 g
  • Iron 3.0 mg
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Lunch & Dinner

Cornish Hens with Quinoa Stuffing