If you've never worked with game hens before, they're very user-friendly. Even stuffed to excess, they only roast for about an hour in a hot oven, and as long as you don't overcook them (use a thermometer!), you'll be enjoying the kind of juicy, flavorful meat that people cooking turkey only dream of.

Recipe Summary

prep:
25 mins
cook:
1 hr 40 mins
additional:
10 mins
total:
2 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
4
Yield:
4 servings
Advertisement

Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Stuffing:
Sauce:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.

    Advertisement
  • Toast bread in the preheated oven until golden, crispy, and completely dry, 20 to 40 minutes. Transfer bread to a large bowl.

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir shallots and green onions with a pinch of salt in hot butter until shallots are translucent and soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add dried cranberries to shallots; cook and stir until cranberries are warmed through, 2 o 3 minutes.

  • Pour chicken broth into skillet; bring broth mixture to a simmer and pour mixture over dried bread cubes. Stir until liquid is absorbed. Season with chopped thyme, minced rosemary, sage, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Mix beaten egg into bread mixture, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let stuffing sit until liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  • Drizzle the bottom of a roasting pan with 2 tablespoons oil and lay thyme sprigs and rosemary sprigs on the bottom of the pan.

  • Generously season each hen cavity with salt. Stuff each hen with about 1/2 the bread-cranberry mixture. Tie legs together and set into prepared roasting pan on top of thyme and rosemary sprigs. Brush hens with remaining olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.

  • Bake hens in the preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 1 hour. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Remove hens to a platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.

  • Place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Stir chicken broth, fresh cranberries, and maple syrup into the pan and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until sauce reduces and thickens, 1 to 3 minutes. Spoon sauce over stuffed hens.

Nutrition Facts

549 calories; protein 25.8g 52% DV; carbohydrates 26g 8% DV; fat 38.1g 59% DV; cholesterol 196.8mg 66% DV; sodium 296.8mg 12% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (23)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/28/2014
I did as instructed by with a few changes.. Instead of just putting dried herbs under the hen I added some chicken stock chardonnay and apple cider to the bottom of my roasting pan and basted the hen every 15 minutes or so. It came out sweet and delicious. Definitely a keeper. Read More
(7)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
12/02/2019
Disappointed. Followed the recipe to a T. Found the dressing to be mushy. It needs less liquid. The sauce's taste was dominated by the chicken broth. I found actual cranberry sauce to be more complimentary. Just felt the hens needed a bit more pizzaz. I liked the fresh herbs but buying them is an added expense. Read More
35 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 30
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
12/28/2014
I did as instructed by with a few changes.. Instead of just putting dried herbs under the hen I added some chicken stock chardonnay and apple cider to the bottom of my roasting pan and basted the hen every 15 minutes or so. It came out sweet and delicious. Definitely a keeper. Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
11/28/2014
I had it last night for thanksgiving it was perfect! I just did the sauce a little thicker otherwise I followed the recipe closely. It was very tasteful well seasoned nice blend of flavors. Excellent! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
11/25/2018
OMG!!! Amazing... and gorgeous!! My foodie photo post got TONS of love and I was told it belonged in a magazine...wow! Thank you Chef John and allrecipes! You make me look goooooood! #HappyThanksgiving #StuffedCornishGameHens Read More
(2)
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
05/14/2015
I made this tonight. This recipe deserves 10 out of 5 stars!!! I did add a bit of dry white wine to the reduction but other than that I stayed true to the recipe. It is a recipe that I'll make again. I used a whole grain oatmeal bread for the stuffing. I had grilled asparagus for a veggie. My husband and son LOVED it. It plates up really nice too. Also I used a 24" cast iron skillet to bake them in (I made 4). It transferred nicely to the stove top to make the reduction. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
08/31/2016
I made this for some picky eaters and everyone loved every part! I added 2Tbsp of white wine to the sauce which was nice. I think I'd do that again if I were to remake it. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
11/20/2017
Impressively beautiful and presents extremely well! Delicious and easy to make! I followed the recipe exactly as written without any modifications. I even made walnut bread from scratch for the stuffing so that I can stay true to the recipe. I will definitely make this again for future holidays! Read More
(1)
Advertisement
Rating: 4 stars
01/02/2018
This was very good. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because it wasn't as amazing as I expected it to be. It was actually pretty easy to prepare but it took me at least an hour to prep everything. I expect that with practice I could do it faster and I'm sure some of it could be done in advance to make it easier. I don't remember having cooked a Cornish Hen before so once served I had some difficulty cutting it and getting the dressing out in the elegant fashion I was hoping for. Basically I made a sloppy mess. I did follow the recipe exactly and the bird was juicy. The sauce was just sweet enough and I loved the look and taste of the cranberries. Certainly worth trying again and maybe my finesse will improve with practice. Read More
(1)
Rating: 4 stars
02/22/2018
This was a very savory and delicious recipe. I served the Cornish Hens and Cranberry Stuffing with Maple Sauce along with mashed potatoes and tangy French-cut green beans. Umm Umm Good! The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is that it was very time consuming to make as the recipe reads. For that reason I used Pepperridge Farms Herb Stuffed Bread Cubes which cut down at least one hour of prep time. And I also used Simple Truth Dried Cranberries and chopped walnuts. During the first 45 mins. of baking I covered the Cornish Hens with foil and threw in some mini-carrots and onion cubes around them to make them nice and moist. Then the last 15 mins. I removed the foil and basted them with the Maple Syrup Sauce made from the pan drippings until they were brown. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
04/27/2016
no changes goodas is and no changes requred but didn't figure out what the maple syrup was for Read More
Rating: 3 stars
12/02/2019
Disappointed. Followed the recipe to a T. Found the dressing to be mushy. It needs less liquid. The sauce's taste was dominated by the chicken broth. I found actual cranberry sauce to be more complimentary. Just felt the hens needed a bit more pizzaz. I liked the fresh herbs but buying them is an added expense. Read More