Holiday Special | Slow Cooked Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

The Holidays are coming! It’s that time of year where you are somehow able to fit in three upcoming Thanksgiving dinner parties or five parties if you come from a big family. Friendsgiving anyone?!  You obviously make time to visit with your grandparents because they are the best and love to feed you.  Then without fail you end up getting wrapped into a last minute meet up with hometown friends for “one drink”.   And all the while you still need to prepare some kind of Thanksgiving meal or dinner.  Stressed much?

We all enjoy spending time with the people who matter most in our lives, however, these next couple of days are going to be heavily induced with unnecessary stresses.  We owe it to ourselves to take time out of the day and slow down.  Easier said than done, but even if it’s only 10 minutes, you deserve those precious moments.

I’ll be the first to admit that after a busy day, cooking is the last thing on my mind. Matt usually ends up cooking dinner most nights because he’s the best! My advice for getting yourself in the kitchen, deep breath and put some music on!  I personally enjoy a mix of Miley Cyrus, Bing Crosby, and Edward Sharp.

For this month’s recipe I decided to create a Thanksgiving inspired dish that you can easily prepare, put into a slow cooker and then go about the rest of the your day as you please.  Rather than using a standard Thanksgiving stuffing I wanted to create a healthier alternative that is still rich in flavor and could help to enhance the taste of the Cornish Game Hens.  These petite Cornish Hens are filled with a savory blend of sautéed Brussels sprout leaves, whole walnuts and thick chunks of bacon. Seasoned with sea salt and topped with melted rosemary infused butter.


Prep Time: 30 minutes || Cook Time: 6 hours || Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 4 Cornish Game Hens
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, pulled apart into leaves (discard cores)
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 1 cup whole walnuts
  • 9 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1-2 tablespoons sea salt (seasoning the stuffing and dry rub for hens)
Additional Materials:
  • slow cooker (crockpot)
  • 2 medium size sauté pans
  • 1 small sauce pan
  • chef’s knife
  • cooking twine or string, cut into four 6 inch strands

 

Preparing Your Brussels and Bacon Stuffing

Remove the leaves from each Brussels sprout and discard the steams and cores.  In one of the medium sauté pans, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over low heat.  Add the Brussels sprout leaves to the pan, season with a dash of sea salt and sauté until the leaves turn a vibrant green.  This should only take about 3-5 minutes.

Chop the bacon into 1-2 inch wedges, the thicker the better!  Take your second sauté pan and over medium heat, cook the bacon for 7-10 minutes or until the pieces are slightly tender.  Add the Brussels sprout leaves into the pan of bacon.  Pour in 1 cup of walnuts and stir to combine all three ingredients.

Preparing Your Rosemary Infused Butter

In a small sauce pan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter on low heat.  As the butter begins to melt, add 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary.  As you stir the butter also try and muddle the leaves of the rosemary.  This will help release of the essential oils into the butter, creating a more flavorful taste!  Once the butter is completely melted, remove from heat and continue to muddle the rosemary for another minute.

Preparing Your Cornish Game Hens

Rinse each game hen with cold water and pat dry.  Allow birds 5-7 minutes to reach room temperature.  Using 1-2 tablespoons, gently rub sea salt into the skin.  If you’re not that big on salt feel free to stick with less than 1 tablespoon!  You want to make sure the outer surface of each bird is seasoned with an even coat of sea salt.

Arrange the game hens in the slow cooker so the legs and opening to the cavity are facing up, then carefully spoon the stuffing into each cavity of the bird.  Using cooking twine, tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips under.

Now for the butter! If your butter has already started to solidify, reheat for about one minute.  Remove the sprigs of rosemary, then evenly pour the rosemary infused butter over the outer surface and into the cavity of each game hen.

Place the cover on top of the slow cooker and set the temperature to low heat.  Congratulate yourself, because you now have the next 4-6 hours to do whatever YOU want.  Remove from the slow cooker after 6 hours or when the game hens have finally changed to a dark golden brown color.  Spoon out and drain any excess liquid.  Place on serving dish and garnish with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary.  Serve, enjoy, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

2 Comments

  • Reply November 25, 2014

    Josephine Perugini

    Sara, thank you for what looks like a delicious recipe. I also like that once the prep work is done you can go about your business and when dinner comes your meal is all set. Can’t wait to try it…

    • Reply November 25, 2014

      Sara Santarsiero

      Josephine, thank you! When I was working on this recipe I kept thinking of all the hardworking women in my life, who dedicate all of their time to family. You and my mother being two of them. I’m glad you appreciate the practicality of this recipe!

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