It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and you’re probably all in a food coma. Or maybe you’re already planning your post-Thanksgiving dinner. While you’re taking advantage of your holiday weekend, here’s a recipe that may inspire you for next year. This month’s Guest Test Kitchen comes from another UNC-Chapel Hill friend who has surprised us with some of the things she has been cooking lately. Just a few weeks ago, she mentioned a crab-stuffed hen dinner that immediately had tongues watering. She just had to share this recipe. Enter Elesha. She is truly a jack of all trades–a woman who pens screen plays, writes and arranges music, edits videos, formulates marketing plans, renovates homes, and apparently…cooks in her free time. The least we could do is give her a little time to shine. When she hits the West coast, hopefully there will be a hen meal waiting for us!
“If turkeys say “gobble, gobble” I figure these hens would say, “gibble, gibble”. I think these little birds are simply adorable and crab stuffed, they are wonderfully delicious!
I love Maryland Blue Crabs, so this take on cornish hens is perfect. I made a few changes like substituting Old Bay Seasoning for paprika, since that’s what they usually season those delicious summer crabs with off the Chesapeake Bay. Having made this a few times already, I also cut down on the amount of butter for sauteing the onion, celery and crab. One stick is just toooooo much and can cause the stuffing to be a tad too soggy. Go with half a stick and see how that goes or, better yet, use a butter-flavored cooking spray. Lastly, I decided not to go with dill weed as the Old Bay and dill weed flavors were not doing it for my palette.
The prep for this dish is only 30 minutes, so don’t save it for a special occasion. It’s perfect for any night of the week. I enjoy my little hen with a few red potatoes, a side salad and a dry white wine. And if you’re looking for some tunes to go with the meal, check out my band, The Barnettes. Enjoy!”
Crab Stuffed Cornish Hens – Serves 4 to 8 (Recipe from About.com)
4 cornish game hens, rinsed, innards removed and patted dry
1 tablespoon gravy sauce
Paprika (swapped in Old Bay seasoning here)
1 stick unsalted butter (only used 1/2 a stick)
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup sliced celery
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
8 ounces lump crab meat
1/8 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dill weed (omitted in this version)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the gravy sauce over the hens, followed by the vegetable oil. Season the inside and outside of each bird with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika (or Old Bay Seasoning).
For the stuffing, cook the green onions and celery in the butter until soft. Throw in the garlic and saute. Add the crab, parsley, salt, and pepper, then cook another 3 minutes. Alternate folding in the cream and bread crumbs, then take it off the heat and cool.
Split up the stuffing between the hens and fill each one. Tie the birds’ legs together with twine and set in a roasting rack with the pan underneath. Bake for an hour, checking the temperature of a meat thermometer. It should read 165 degrees in the thickest part of the hen. Take the hens out of the oven and cover them loosely with foil. Cut them after 15 minutes, so they have time to rest.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.