Ideal for entertaining, fresh Ontario cornish hens are the loaded with a versatile stuffing of shallots, fig and creamy goat cheese for a flavourful impact. To offer a harmonious balance of sweet and savoury, crisp Ontario bacon envelopes the hen keeping the meat moist and juicy.
2 Ontario cornish hens, rinsed and patted dry
1 tsp (5 mL) each, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, divided
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, divided
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced
2 cups (500 mL) finely chopped mushrooms
1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp (30 mL) fig spread
2 oz (60 g) crumbled goat cheese
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh chopped rosemary
2 strips, Ontario bacon, cut in half crosswise
Season each cornish hen with 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each of salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl, add 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil, thyme, and garlic, and toss to combine. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours.
In skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Cook shallots, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, remaining salt and pepper and cook until golden and liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and fig spread. Let cool completely. Stir in goat cheese and rosemary.
Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C). Remove 1 hen from marinade. Gently loosen skin from breasts and stuff half of the goat cheese mixture underneath. Wrap 2 strips of bacon over breasts and transfer hen, breast side up, to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining hen. Roast until just cooked through (cut into inner thigh; meat will still be slightly pink), about 15 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.
Chef’s Tip: This goat cheese stuffing would also work well served with Ontario pork, pheasant and quail.
Per serving: about 290 cal, 29 g pro, 15 g total fat (4 g sat fat), 8 g carb, 1 g fibre, 120 mg chol, 650 mg sodium. %RDI: iron 10%, calcium 4%, vit A 10%, vit C 10%