Today, March 21st, our family honors the memory of my father on his birth date. He passed away at the age of 92, 18 years ago. Although my father lost his sight to macular degeneration, he carried on in his life with much courage and dignity. I have great admiration and appreciation of the special man he was.
Having been raised on a farm, chicken was a very common meal. I think my mother probably prepared chicken every possible way there is to cook them. At that time I had never heard of a Cornish game hen let alone eaten one.
By the 1950’s, the Cornish Game Hen was fabulously popular. The usual weight is about 500-700 grams, which makes it ample for an individual serving. I remember in the 1970’s, Cornish game hens were considered to be a very upscale or exotic dinner and quite expensive.
According to legend, the Cornish game hen was actually ‘invented’. The original breeder was a woman by the name of ‘Tea’ Makowsky. At the age of 15, she moved to Paris, France finding work at both a milliner’s shop and a cheese shop. It was here she met her husband and they married in 1933. Fleeing from the Nazis, they settled in the USA. After fire destroyed their farm in 1949. the Makowskis, began experimenting and came up with a cross breed of Cornish game cocks and Plymouth Rock hens. The result was a plump little bird that matured quickly with all-white meat. In less than 5 weeks, the chicken was ready to be sold.
I’m sure had my Dad tasted this stuffed version he would have probably enjoyed it so I thought it was fitting for todays blog recipe.
- 190 gm (1 cup) dried apricots, chopped
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
- 3 English muffins, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted *
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a small saucepan, combine dried apricots, apple juice & amaretto; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover & simmer 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine muffin pieces, almonds, melted butter, cinnamon & apricot mixture. Mix well.
- In a small dish, combine all ingredients. Rinse hens & pat dry. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt inside each hen cavity. Stuff each hen with muffin mixture. Skewer opening together. Place hens' breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Spread herb butter over each one then place a bacon slice on each breast. Cover with foil. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
- In a saucepan over low heat, melt plum jam, stirring frequently.
- After 1 1/2 hours of roasting, remove bacon & continue roasting hens, uncovered for 15 more minutes, basting with plum jam every 5 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to ensure hens are cooked through. Remove skewers . Serve immediately.
- * To toast almonds, spread on a cookie sheet, bake at 375 F. for 5-6 minutes or until light golden brown, stirring occasionally.