Using fresh fruit in stuffing is one of my favorite means of preparing the delicious mixture. Adding a burst of sweetness in each mouthful, the natural sugary food also secretes moisture into the surrounding ingredients.
Blackberries, in particular, seep their purple juice into the surrounding ingredients, mellowing the flavors of onions and garlic and softening the rice. They are also abundant in Powell River, growing over the fence and becoming a nuisance in the garden. Their tart sweetness perfectly complements the slightly fattier texture of Cornish hens. They are also an pleasantly unusual surprise.
You would think that a stuffed chicken is reserved for holidays and weekends, requiring constant sweating and fretting over perfect cooking times for several hours. However, these hens are a weekday delight, with a quick coking time and a stuffing that can be pre-made into batches that are easily pulled out of the freezer to use. With a little time and planning, or an overabundance of this stuffing on a particular occasion, a delicious and elegant dinner can be made within 30 minutes. Man, makes me feel like a skinnier (and female) Jamie Oliver.
However, they are more simple to deal with then chicken, and not much more expensive, for their succulent meat is slightly fattier, which makes them less easy to roast to chewy cardboard-like-texture in the oven. Fast, easy, succulent (yet healthy) — what more could you ask for in a meal?
2 cups brown rice, cooked and cooled
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup blackberries
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tso ground black pepper
1 large onion, cut in half and layers separated
4 garlic cloves, sliced lengthwise in half
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1. Combine all the stuffing ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the hens under running water, inside and out, and pat them dry. Fil the internal cavity of each with as much stuffing as possible. Tie the legs together with cooking twine to keep the stuffing secure.
3. Insert the hens in to the oven and cover with tinfoil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake the hen for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
4. Remove and tent with foil for 10 minutes, letting the hens rest before serving.
Pray. Eat. Enjoy cooking a holiday dish, outside of a holiday.