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Stuffed cornish game hens with wild rice chestnuts and mushrooms


Stuffed Cornish game hens with wild rice, chestnuts and mushrooms

This Thanksgiving Day 2012, stuffed Cornish game hens took center stage at our dinner table instead of the traditional turkey feast. Long grain wild rice with sliced mushrooms and roasted chestnuts replaced the bread stuffing. The lemon and soy sauce marinade with basil made the hens tender, tangy and fragrant.

This stuffed Cornish game hen recipe was a hit with our family and guests that it became one of our favorite holiday comfort foods. These little hens always give an elegant touch to any gathering and bring smiles to everyone's face.

All photos were taken by me (jlshernandez). All rights reserved.

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Prepare the cornish game hens - Upfront planning is important


Photo source: jlshernandez

1. Thaw cornish game hens overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. If fresh cornish game hens are available, this saves one step. These usually come in a package of two.

2. Rinse chicken, including the cavity, under running water and pat dry with paper towel.

3. Mix the juice of 2 fresh lemons, 1 cup soy sauce and 1 tablespoon dried basil.

Place hens in a pan, spoon marinate into cavities and pour the rest over game hens.

4. Grate the lemon jest and smear evenly over hens. Cover with clear wrap and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Make wild rice with chestnuts and mushrooms for the stuffing - Surprise waits inside each "little hen"


Photo source: jlshernandez

1. Cook Uncle Ben's Chicken and Wild rice according to the package.

Add 2 cups water, 1 Tbsp. butter, rice and seasoning packet in a pot, boil, then lower to medium heat, cover tightly and simmer for 10 minutes.

Rice can be microwaved, but I preferred making mine on the stovetop.

2. Drain and add 1 4 oz. can of slice button mushrooms.

3. Remove pot from heat let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup or more of roasted chestnuts.

Set aside to cool before stuffing cornish hens. Extra wild rice can be served on the side. Only about a cup of rice can be stuffed into each hen.

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Stuffed cornish game hens are ready to be roasted - Well, almost -- a few words about the roasting pans


Photo source: jlshernandez

1. Place racks in the 13x9x2 pans to drain running juices and grease when hens are roasting.

Position hens on racks in pans (in this case I made 6 stuffed cornish game hens), so there were 3 hens to one pan.

Two 13x9x2 baking pans fit perfectly side by side on one oven shelf. The heat distribution will be more even while roasting. In the roast mode, both the heating element at the top and bottom of the oven are turned on.

Loosely cover pans with aluminum foil - Cornish game hens will be juicier and tender this way


Photo source: jlshernandez

1. Roast in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes or the when an instant meat thermometer registers 170 degrees.

Step 2 is important to turn Cornish hens to a golden brown.

2. Remove foil, turn up the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and roast an additional 30 minutes. Baste with melted butter with basil every 15 minutes or so until hens are golden brown. When the legs can be wiggled freely, the hens are ready. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.

3. In the meantime, prepare the green salads and rolls.

Roasting pans that fit side by side in the oven shelf

Golden brown, plump and juicy -- hens rest on rack and do not sit on the drippings.

Golden brown, plump and juicy -- hens on rack do not sit on the drippings

Golden brown, plump and juicy -- hens on rack do not sit on the drippings

Roasted Cornish hens and accompaniments - Easy roasted red potatoes recipe


Photo Source: jlshernandez

Roasted small red potatoes are easy to make in tandem with the cornish game hens. The photos shows the recipe doubled. - 3 lbs. of small potatoes instead of 1.5 lbs.

1. Wash 1.5 pounds of small red potatoes and dry with paper towels.

2. Mix 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1 package of Knorr instant onion soup mix.

Any other brand of onion soup mix will work.

3. Line baking pan with aluminum foil with sides turned up slightly. This makes the pans easier to clean later.

Pour olive oil and onion mixture over potatoes. Mix well.

4. Bake potatoes at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes turning potatoes midway during roasting.

Come and get it. Dinner's ready!

Come and get it. Dinner's ready!

Come and get it. Dinner's ready!

Many ways to stuff cornish game hens - Recipes you do not want to miss

Would you make this recipe for the holiday? - Let me know what you think.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on December 18, 2017:

This is a great recipe. My father want me to try cornish hens, something I never had before, since he loves to cook. I'm game to try it next month and use it with this recipe. Thanks for the idea and the links too.

slotowngal on January 11, 2013:

Absolutely! I'm bookmarking it for next Christmas....

Pat Goltz on December 10, 2012:

It sounds really good. However, Uncle Ben's probably has monosodium glutimate in it, which would make me violently ill. I can't eat onions for the same reason. I think I'd substitute mushrooms on the potatoes. I like to baste game hens in lemon butter with crushed oregano. It's a Greek recipe for chicken, and works very well on game hens with the skin still on.

john-dewitt-7 on December 10, 2012:


Mysticy on December 10, 2012:


mariacarbonara on December 08, 2012:

The look really tasty!

casquid on December 06, 2012:

Great job. Congrats to you! This will be added to my recipes.

Angel Blessed!!

Nnadi bonaventure Chima from Johanesburg on December 06, 2012:

Am already salivating ,thanks for sharing

thegrayrabbit on December 05, 2012:

absolutely. this looks yummy

MartieG aka 'survivoryea' from Jersey Shore on December 05, 2012:

You brought back good memories of my mom cooking game hens - love the photos you included ~~blessed~~

jlshernandez (author) on December 05, 2012:

@DebMartin: @DebMartin, each person gets a whole Cornish game hen. After stuffing them, each one measures about 5" by 7" long. Some hens are smaller. You can choose to cut them in half before serving if you like. Usually, there are no leftovers. I cook more hens than needed for leftovers for the next day. Thanks for the blessing. I appreciate it.

DebMartin on December 05, 2012:

Beautiful lens with much good advice. Blessed. Just one question... How many people do you suggest one hen will feed? ... with leftovers, of course ;-) Thanks, d

pawpaw911 on December 05, 2012:

Wow, looks really good.

Sharlee on December 05, 2012:

Looks like a great recipe. Nice lens I enjoyed my visit.

mistaben on December 05, 2012:

This recipe looks yummy!

mrdata on December 05, 2012:

Congrats on lens of the day! Your cookery setup gives me some ideas for improving my kitchen. Love the wide oven. Mine is too small. :(

cyberflutist on December 05, 2012:

I would love to try it. I really like the way you laid out your recipe--it is so easy to follow.

SteveKaye on December 04, 2012:

You are an amazing cook. Congratulations on LOTD. Wish you the best.

KeithMcDonald on December 04, 2012:

Can't wait to try this one!

KeithMcDonald on December 04, 2012:

Can't wait to try this one!

Roberto Eldrum on December 04, 2012:

hm... yum yum yum yum... my mouth's watery! Can't wait to try it.. ah!

anonymous on December 04, 2012:

Love your lense, it looks sooo delicious!

KimGiancaterino on December 04, 2012:

My husband might. Lovely lens ... congrats on LOTD!

Mary Stephenson from California on December 04, 2012:

I have made any cornish hens in years. I really should get some and do it. They are usually very good.

KandH on December 04, 2012:

Yes!!! This lens is really yummy, thanks for sharing - the images are awesome and so very tempting!

soaringsis on December 04, 2012:

Oh my! I am getting hungry. Great lens. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on your LotD.

WriterJanis2 on December 04, 2012:

Oh this looks delicious. Congrats on LOTD.

Projectlazy on December 04, 2012:

damn that looks good!

anonymous on December 04, 2012:

Will definitely try this recipe this holiday. Congrats!

Pete Schultz on December 04, 2012:

I like this recipe, and I like game hens. congrats on LOTD, right in time for Christmas dinner!

DebiSquid on December 04, 2012:

This recipe sounds delicious! With only 3 of us home for the holidays anymore, I've been using Cornish games hens for years rather than a huge turkey. Gonna have to test this one out for Christmas!

motobidia on December 04, 2012:

Looks yummy! I've had cornish hen many years ago and love it; adding mushrooms and chestnuts would make it even more special.

laurenrich on December 04, 2012:

I would make this recipe for the holiday. Thanks for sharing this wonderful lens.

anonymous on December 04, 2012:

Wow! That looks really good! Congratulations on getting LotD!

TopDigitalMarke on December 04, 2012:

My mouth is watering...thanks for sharing!! :)

Clairissa from OREFIELD, PA on December 04, 2012:

Wow! This looks Fabulous... I will have to make this soon. Congrats on LotD!

tobydavis on December 04, 2012:

Looks yummy - love mixing a roast meat with roast vegetables or similar in one big tray - fantastic lens!

TonfaGuy on December 04, 2012:

Never view a food lens when your hungry..!!!

Especially one as good as this lens.

It all looks delicious. mmmmm


BarbaraCasey on December 04, 2012:

Great lens for holiday dining ideas. Congrats on LOTD.

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on December 04, 2012:

yum and congrats!

Emmie16 on December 04, 2012:

This looks elegant and delicious! I am definitely going to try this recipe! My husband can't be the only one who can cook! :)

olmpal on December 04, 2012:

Sounds delicious and I'm sure it is! Congrats on getting LOTD!

mytone on December 04, 2012:

wow,,,delicious...i will insist my wife to have a try at least....

clkbm on December 04, 2012:

Congratulations on lotd. Great lens.

Lou Martin from Atlanta, Georgia on December 04, 2012:

Those stuffed cornish game hens looks very yummy!

Vikki from US on December 04, 2012:

Congrats on lotd; made me hungry ;)

Delia on December 04, 2012:

Congratulations on LOTD! looks scrumptious! I have made these...

joancol lm on December 04, 2012:

I can't stand to taste it.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on December 04, 2012:

Fabulous-sounding flavor combinations! Love the pictures and your description answered every question I had. I'm looking forward to trying this recipe very soon. Congratulations on your very tasty Lens of the Day!

candy47 on December 04, 2012:

I would make cornish game hens any time of year, your lens makes it look easy and yummy! Congratulations on Lens of the Day :)

poldepc lm on December 04, 2012:

congrats on your LOTD

hamshi5433 on December 04, 2012:


Tom on December 04, 2012:

Cornish game hens are great, and your recipe looks fantastic. Congrats on LotD!

Avi Wolfson from Massachusetts on December 04, 2012:

Yes, this is great!

anne mohanraj on December 04, 2012:

Delicious looking recipe! Congratulations on LOTD!

irenemaria from Sweden on December 04, 2012:

I really love your personal photos. Congrats to front page!

kgdunst on December 04, 2012:

thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

The wild rice with chestnuts and mushrooms stuffing sounds perfect with chicken which my family prefer it than turkey. I will definitely give it a try, in fact, I can't wait to cook this dish!!

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on December 04, 2012:

Sounds and looks incredibly delicious. Congrats on LotD!

wineisle on December 04, 2012:

This looks delicious - but what is a Cornish Game Hen? It looks as if it is a Poussin (a small, young chicken)... either way, the results look mouthwatering.

anonymous on December 04, 2012:

My mouth started watering just from reading the title of the lens! Looks incredible!

Tim Bader from Surrey, UK on December 04, 2012:

Never had it but looks very yummy!

gamecheathub on December 04, 2012:

Looks so delicious. Really intrigued by the potato action. #getINmahBELLY

Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on December 03, 2012:

Yum, my mother used to make a dish just like this. Her recipe is long gone, but I can't wait to try this one. Congrats on LOTD

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 03, 2012:

Looks yummy. Worth a try.

anonymous on December 03, 2012:

Congratulations for the LOTD! you make me hungry .. (:

anonymous on December 03, 2012:

I am thrilled to see you receive LotD for this beautifully delicious that is a definite day maker!

anonymous on December 03, 2012:

Wow. Thanks for sharing. great lens. Will try it.

anonymous on December 03, 2012:

Congrats on LOTD! They do look very tasty and nice alternative for Thanksgiving.

GeekGirl1 on December 03, 2012:

those look very appetizing! you know when it's ready just by looking at their color. delicious lens!!

cleanyoucar on December 03, 2012:

These look delicious, perfect for the coming holidays!

cassieann on December 03, 2012:

It's been such a long time since I have roasted cornish hens. I like the idea of stuffing them with the wild rice mixture too. I probably would not replace my turkey for Thanksgiving, however, this would make a tasty meal for some special event for sure. Congrats on LOTD!

John Tannahill from Somewhere in England on December 03, 2012:

Congrats on LotD! This looks really delicious. Sometimes I love reading about food almost as much as eating it.

Bob from Kansas City on December 03, 2012:

This is sooo awesome!!! I will definitely be making this soon. Great article, very well done. And congrats on the Lens of the Day selection, it's well des