Daily Archives: 14 March 2014
For me, stuffing is something I only eat at Thanksgiving. There were a few years in college, and right afterwards, when I made StoveTop brand stuffing to accompany chicken or pork chops, but that fell out of the repertoire years ago.
For Thanksgiving, I think most families have a traditional stuffing they make, generation after generation, and a recipe that is expected (anticipated?), without variation, on the menu, year after year. Branching out would probably cause more disappointment than it’s worth. When I make Thanksgiving, I make a bready stuffing with roasted chestnuts, giblets, and lots of herbs.
Good thing it is March. I had no qualms about trying out a new stuffing recipe. This one was unlike any I’ve ever made before. There was only a little bread. This was definitely a meaty stuffing. Sweet Italian sausage was the star. Embellished with some sautéed shallots, a little bread, lots of parsley, and an egg to bind it together, the kitchen smelled fantastic.
The sausage mixture is stuffed into a Cornish hen before roasting in a cast-iron skillet for just 40 minutes. A little on its side, a little more on its other side, and a final roast on its back before letting it take a little nap (a la the Hurry-Up-And-Wait Chicken) while you make a pan sauce from the drippings and some white wine.
Howard and I split one hen, so after it was cooked and rested, we (Howard, actually) sliced the hen down the middle and served. I only made one bird, though I made the whole amount of stuffing. (I baked the other half in a ramekin and enjoyed it for lunch.) Our favorite part of this was definitely the stuffing. The poultry-sausage flavor combination was fine. Howard and I both agreed that the meat-to-bone ratio of a Cornish hen makes it much less enjoyable to eat than chicken. Certainly, the hens look cute (weighing in at just 1.5 pounds), but it’s just too fussy to eat.
I would make the stuffing again, probably adding a few more slices of bread to make it more of a side, and bake it in a separate dish. Hens, not so much.
To see the other Doristas’ verdicts on the hens, check out their links here.