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Cornish Game Hens
At Christmastime, a simple but elegant meal can be a relief after the cocktails and canapés, sweets and savories, and over–the–top entrees one eats during the holidays. This recipe is easy to make and dramatic to present.
Serves 2 to 4
2 Cornish game hens (1 1/2 pounds each)
12 red or green seedless grapes
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Sat and freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Remove the giblets and necks from the hens; reserve for another use or discard. Rinse the hens inside and out with cold running water and drain well. Pat dry with paper towels.
3. Stuff each of the hens with half the grapes and a spring of tarragon.
4. Rub each bird with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, salt, and pepper.
5. Place the hens, breast side up, on a rack in a small roasting pan and cook for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F and continue roasting for 20 to 30 minutes, basting frequently, until the hens are tender and juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with the tip of a knife.
6. Remove the pan from oven, arrange the hens on a platter, and serve.
Puree of Squash and Fried Sage Butter
Sage is an herb that is strongly associated with the holidays, from its seasoning of Thanksgiving stuffing to its role in this delicious accompaniment.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2–pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2–inch pieces
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage.
1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the squash, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Pour in the broth and simmer until the squash is soft, about 12 minutes. Let cool.
3. Working in batches, puree the squash in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the squash to the pan and reheat.
4. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the sage and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour over the squash and serve.