Go Back

Cider Brined Cornish Game Hens with Apple Sausage Stuffing

Course Dinner, Main Course
Total Time 1 day 3 hours
Servings 2

Ingredients

Brine

  • 2 cornish game hens
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 1/2 cups water

Stuffing

  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 1/2 pound sausage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup apple diced (1 apple)
  • 4 cups stale bread cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp sage chopped
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/16 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 egg

Cider Jus

  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup roasted hen pan drippings or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp sage
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Brine

  • In a large pot, bring to a boil the apple cider, bourbon, salt, sage, bay leaf, water, and peppercorns. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Place the hens in large container and cover with the brine. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
  • Remove the hens from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Rub the skin with a thin layer of oil and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.

Stuffing

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook off the sausage and remove from the skillet. Add the oil and butter to the pan. When melted add the onion, apple, and sage. Cook until soft. Add the bread to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and remove from heat. Cool completely then mix in the egg, salt, and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill the cavities of each hen with stuffing. Tuck the wings behind the breast and tie the legs together. Place any leftover stuffing in a baking dish and place the hens on top. Bake for 1-1/2 hours or until the stuffing reaches 165 degrees, basting every 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Cider Jus

  • In a small pan reduce the cider with the sage to 1/4 cup. Add the dripping or stock and reduce by half. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.