Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sage Polenta Stuffed Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Greens

Cornish game hens are basically little chickens, brought to market at a younger age. The flavour is very similar and the quality will depend upon who you purchased them from, as is true of regular chickens. I love them, every once in a while, because it is such a treat to get your own individual bird. I purchased these beautiful little birds from Hilltop Acres Poultry at the St. Jacob's farmers market.

If you have leftover polenta, slice up pieces and fry them in a little bit of butter or olive oil. This is a great base for a quick dinner when topped with fried mushrooms or tomato sauce.

Sage Polenta Stuffed Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Greens
3 T olive oil, divided
1/4 cup sage leaves, chopped fine
2 shallots, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 1/2 cups course grind corn meal
1 cup dry white wine or vermouth, divided
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 T butter, for baking pan
4 Cornish game hens
1 or 2 large bunches Red Swiss Chard (or another green), chopped
2 T flour
salt and pepper

Heat 2 T olive oil over medium high heat. Add shallots and 3 T garlic. Cook until soft. Add sage and brown. Add 1/2 cup wine and deglaze pan. Add stock and bring to a boil. When liquid is boiling, add corn meal, a little bit at a time while whisking vigorously.

Once all of the cornmeal has been added, continue to whisk for at least two minutes to ensure there are no lumps in polenta. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 40-45 minutes longer over low heat, stirring well with a wooden spoon, every 5 minutes. Once polenta is soft, turn off heat and add cheeses. Adjust seasonings to taste. Butter a 9" x 13" glass baking pan and pour polenta into pan, smooth top. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour to set up.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Once polenta is set. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Wash hens inside and out and dry well. Season the inside of the birds with salt and pepper. Stuff with polenta cubes. Truss feet together with string. Liberally coat outside of birds with butter or olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place birds in roasting pan, and place in oven. Immediately reduce heat of oven to 375 degrees. Roast birds for one hour.

When birds are almost finished, heat 1 T olive oil over medium high heat. Add remaining 2 T garlic to pan and fry until fragrant. Add stems of greens to pan and saute until browned. Add leaves of greens to pan and saute until wilted.

When birds are finished roasting remove them from their roasting pan and set aside, tented with tin foil, to rest. Add flour to roasting pan and mix with drippings until dissolved. Place roasting pan over medium high heat. Add remaining 1/2 cup white wine and stir until brown bits from pan have been incorporated into the flour and wine mixture. Add water (or any leftover chicken stock) to loosen gravy. Bring to a boil and stir until flour has been cooked out of gravy, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Pour into gravy boat.

Serve birds with greens and gravy alongside.


  1. Compliments for your blog and your pictures included, I invite you to see the photo blog,

    Each week released a new album

    Greetings from Italy


  2. Marlow,
    Thank you for your comment. Your photo blog is absolutely beautiful. The pictures really make me miss Italy.