Greek-Style Stuffed Cornish Game Hens
By Danielle Singh
This dish is under 300 calories, less than 10 grams of fat and packed with almost 30 grams of protein
½ cup sun-dried tomato halves (not oil-packed)
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped (optional)
½ cup Calamata (Greek) olives, pitted and chopped
½ cup golden raisins
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon oregano, dried
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt
2 Cornish game hens (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each), halved*
* To halve a game hen simply cut through the breastbone then along the backbone.
1 Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2 In a small saucepan bring about 1 cup of water to a rapid boil, add sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
Reserve 2 tablespoons of tomato liquid in a small bowl. Drain tomatoes, cool, coarsely chop and place in reserved liquid.
3 Next, add mint, olives, raisins, garlic, oregano, lemon zest and salt to the sun-dried tomatoes. Now it’s time to stuff the hen just beneath the skin. Carefully separate and lift as much of the game hen’s breast and thigh skin that you can without tearing it. Gently place ¼ of the stuffing mixture under the skin of each hen.
4 Place hens skin side up on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 25-30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Remove the skin before serving and you’ll be able to subtract nearly half the fat.
This dish is excellent served with stuffing, which can be made with the same tomato mixture as used for the hen except omit the lemon. Mmmm!
Did you know?
Nutritional power! A whole bird (eaten without the skin) is an enormous source of protein, very little saturated fat and is an excellent source of B vitamins and zinc.
When roasting, broiling or grilling chicken (or game hens), it’s okay to leave the skin on during cooking as long as you remove it before eating. It has been proven that there is no significant fat transferred from the skin to the meat and cooking with the skin on creates a moister, more flavorful bird.
Chickens sold in stores are inspected by the USDA or by state systems with equivalent standards. Grading, however, is voluntary. Grade A chickens are, naturally, of the highest quality.
Choose a chicken with a meaty breast. Skin color is not a factor and depends on the chicken’s breed and diet; it does not affect the nutritional value of the bird.
Rinse a chicken under cold running water and be sure to remove any visible fat. Always wash any utensils, cutting boards, work surfaces and hands with hot, soapy water after handling raw chicken to avoid food poisoning.
It’s highly recommended to not cook poultry with stuffing inside the cavity; however, stuffing a bird under the skin with an herb mixture is perfectly safe.
To check for doneness, cook a whole chicken until a thermometer reads 180. The meat will be white and the juices will run clear, not pink, when the meat is pierced.
It’s best to always roast a whole chicken on a rack to allow the fat to drip off as the bird cooks.