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Stuffed cornish game hens with wild rice chestnuts and mushrooms

Updated on November 22, 2017

Stuffed Cornish game hens with wild rice, chestnuts and mushrooms

This Thanksgiving Day 2012, stuffed Cornish game hens took center stage at our dinner table instead of the traditional turkey feast. Long grain wild rice with sliced mushrooms and roasted chestnuts replaced the bread stuffing. The lemon and soy sauce marinade with basil made the hens tender, tangy and fragrant.

This stuffed Cornish game hen recipe was a hit with our family and guests that it became one of our favorite holiday comfort foods. These little hens always give an elegant touch to any gathering and bring smiles to everyone's face.

All photos were taken by me (jlshernandez). All rights reserved.

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Have you ever eaten cornish game hens?

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What's in a name? Hen is not really a game bird and can be male or female.

A Cornish Game Hen is a special breed of poultry that is named after Cornwall, England where the breed originated from. In the United States, the hybrid chicken is a cross between a Cornish hen and Plymouth or White Rock chicken.

Prepare the cornish game hens - Upfront planning is important

Photo source: jlshernandez

1. Thaw cornish game hens overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. If fresh cornish game hens are available, this saves one step. These usually come in a package of two.

2. Rinse chicken, including the cavity, under running water and pat dry with paper towel.

3. Mix the juice of 2 fresh lemons, 1 cup soy sauce and 1 tablespoon dried basil.

Place hens in a pan, spoon marinate into cavities and pour the rest over game hens.

4. Grate the lemon jest and smear evenly over hens. Cover with clear wrap and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Make wild rice with chestnuts and mushrooms for the stuffing - Surprise waits inside each "little hen"

Photo source: jlshernandez

1. Cook Uncle Ben's Chicken and Wild rice according to the package.

Add 2 cups water, 1 Tbsp. butter, rice and seasoning packet in a pot, boil, then lower to medium heat, cover tightly and simmer for 10 minutes.

Rice can be microwaved, but I preferred making mine on the stovetop.

2. Drain and add 1 4 oz. can of slice button mushrooms.

3. Remove pot from heat let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup or more of roasted chestnuts.

Set aside to cool before stuffing cornish hens. Extra wild rice can be served on the side. Only about a cup of rice can be stuffed into each hen.

Stuffed cornish game hens are ready to be roasted - Well, almost -- a few words about the roasting pans

Photo source: jlshernandez

1. Place racks in the 13x9x2 pans to drain running juices and grease when hens are roasting.

Position hens on racks in pans (in this case I made 6 stuffed cornish game hens), so there were 3 hens to one pan.

Two 13x9x2 baking pans fit perfectly side by side on one oven shelf. The heat distribution will be more even while roasting. In the roast mode, both the heating element at the top and bottom of the oven are turned on.

Loosely cover pans with aluminum foil - Cornish game hens will be juicier and tender this way

Photo source: jlshernandez

1. Roast in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes or the when an instant meat thermometer registers 170 degrees.

Step 2 is important to turn Cornish hens to a golden brown.

2. Remove foil, turn up the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and roast an additional 30 minutes. Baste with melted butter with basil every 15 minutes or so until hens are golden brown. When the legs can be wiggled freely, the hens are ready. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.

3. In the meantime, prepare the green salads and rolls.

Roasting pans that fit side by side in the oven shelf

Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick Roast Pan with Non-Stick Rack, 13-Inch-by-9-Inch - 16947,Gray
Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick Roast Pan with Non-Stick Rack, 13-Inch-by-9-Inch - 16947,Gray
These pans are perfect for roasting 6 cornish game hens, 3 birds per pan. The non-stick pans distribute heat evenly and are easy to clean. The 13x9x2 pan is also a popular size for baking cakes and brownies.

Golden brown, plump and juicy -- hens rest on rack and do not sit on the drippings.

Golden brown, plump and juicy -- hens on rack do not sit on the drippings
Golden brown, plump and juicy -- hens on rack do not sit on the drippings

Roasted Cornish hens and accompaniments - Easy roasted red potatoes recipe

Photo Source: jlshernandez

Roasted small red potatoes are easy to make in tandem with the cornish game hens. The photos shows the recipe doubled. - 3 lbs. of small potatoes instead of 1.5 lbs.

1. Wash 1.5 pounds of small red potatoes and dry with paper towels.

2. Mix 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1 package of Knorr instant onion soup mix.

Any other brand of onion soup mix will work.

3. Line baking pan with aluminum foil with sides turned up slightly. This makes the pans easier to clean later.

Pour olive oil and onion mixture over potatoes. Mix well.

4. Bake potatoes at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes turning potatoes midway during roasting.

Come and get it. Dinner's ready!

Come and get it. Dinner's ready!
Come and get it. Dinner's ready!

Would you make this recipe for the holiday? - Let me know what you think.

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This is a great recipe. My father want me to try cornish hens, something I never had before, since he loves to cook. I'm game to try it next month and use it with this recipe. Thanks for the idea and the links too.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Absolutely! I'm bookmarking it for next Christmas....

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 

      7 years ago

      It sounds really good. However, Uncle Ben's probably has monosodium glutimate in it, which would make me violently ill. I can't eat onions for the same reason. I think I'd substitute mushrooms on the potatoes. I like to baste game hens in lemon butter with crushed oregano. It's a Greek recipe for chicken, and works very well on game hens with the skin still on.

    • john-dewitt-7 profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • mariacarbonara profile image


      7 years ago

      The look really tasty!

    • casquid profile image


      7 years ago

      Great job. Congrats to you! This will be added to my recipes.

      Angel Blessed!!

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 

      7 years ago from Johanesburg

      Am already salivating ,thanks for sharing

    • thegrayrabbit profile image


      7 years ago

      absolutely. this looks yummy

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 

      7 years ago from Jersey Shore

      You brought back good memories of my mom cooking game hens - love the photos you included ~~blessed~~

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful lens with much good advice. Blessed. Just one question... How many people do you suggest one hen will feed? ... with leftovers, of course ;-) Thanks, d

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow, looks really good.

    • Sharlee01 profile image


      7 years ago

      Looks like a great recipe. Nice lens I enjoyed my visit.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This recipe looks yummy!

    • mrdata profile image


      7 years ago

      Congrats on lens of the day! Your cookery setup gives me some ideas for improving my kitchen. Love the wide oven. Mine is too small. :(

    • cyberflutist profile image


      7 years ago

      I would love to try it. I really like the way you laid out your recipe--it is so easy to follow.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You are an amazing cook. Congratulations on LOTD. Wish you the best.

    • KeithMcDonald profile image


      7 years ago

      Can't wait to try this one!

    • KeithMcDonald profile image


      7 years ago

      Can't wait to try this one!

    • neosurk profile image

      Roberto Eldrum 

      7 years ago

      hm... yum yum yum yum... my mouth's watery! Can't wait to try it.. ah!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Love your lense, it looks sooo delicious!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      7 years ago

      My husband might. Lovely lens ... congrats on LOTD!

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 

      7 years ago from California

      I have made any cornish hens in years. I really should get some and do it. They are usually very good.

    • KandH profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes!!! This lens is really yummy, thanks for sharing - the images are awesome and so very tempting!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Oh my! I am getting hungry. Great lens. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on your LotD.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Oh this looks delicious. Congrats on LOTD.

    • Projectlazy profile image


      7 years ago

      damn that looks good!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Will definitely try this recipe this holiday. Congrats!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 

      7 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I would make these delicious looking cornish hens for the holidays. I've made them in the past but not stuffed. This stuffing recipe sounds soooo good. Congrats on LOTD and Angel Blessings**

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 

      7 years ago

      I like this recipe, and I like game hens. congrats on LOTD, right in time for Christmas dinner!

    • DebiSquid profile image


      7 years ago

      This recipe sounds delicious! With only 3 of us home for the holidays anymore, I've been using Cornish games hens for years rather than a huge turkey. Gonna have to test this one out for Christmas!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Looks yummy! I've had cornish hen many years ago and love it; adding mushrooms and chestnuts would make it even more special.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I would make this recipe for the holiday. Thanks for sharing this wonderful lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow! That looks really good! Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • MelissaRodgz profile image


      7 years ago

      Looks delicious. I think covering them with foil is an excellent idea to keep them moist.

    • TopDigitalMarke profile image


      7 years ago

      My mouth is watering...thanks for sharing!! :)

    • Scotties-Rock profile image


      7 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Wow! This looks Fabulous... I will have to make this soon. Congrats on LotD!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Looks yummy - love mixing a roast meat with roast vegetables or similar in one big tray - fantastic lens!

    • TonfaGuy profile image


      7 years ago

      Never view a food lens when your hungry..!!!

      Especially one as good as this lens.

      It all looks delicious. mmmmm


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens for holiday dining ideas. Congrats on LOTD.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      yum and congrats!

    • Emmie16 profile image


      7 years ago

      This looks elegant and delicious! I am definitely going to try this recipe! My husband can't be the only one who can cook! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Sounds delicious and I'm sure it is! Congrats on getting LOTD!

    • mytone profile image


      7 years ago

      wow,,,delicious...i will insist my wife to have a try at least....

    • clkbm profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations on lotd. Great lens.

    • Louidam1 LM profile image

      Lou Martin 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Those stuffed cornish game hens looks very yummy!

    • choosehappy profile image


      7 years ago from US

      Congrats on lotd; made me hungry ;)

    • delia-delia profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! looks scrumptious! I have made these...

    • joancol lm profile image

      joancol lm 

      7 years ago

      I can't stand to taste it.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Fabulous-sounding flavor combinations! Love the pictures and your description answered every question I had. I'm looking forward to trying this recipe very soon. Congratulations on your very tasty Lens of the Day!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I would make cornish game hens any time of year, your lens makes it look easy and yummy! Congratulations on Lens of the Day :)

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 

      7 years ago

      congrats on your LOTD

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • graphite75 profile image


      7 years ago

      Cornish game hens are great, and your recipe looks fantastic. Congrats on LotD!

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Yes, this is great!

    • anne mohanraj profile image

      anne mohanraj 

      7 years ago

      Delicious looking recipe! Congratulations on LOTD!

    • mariaamoroso profile image


      7 years ago from Sweden

      I really love your personal photos. Congrats to front page!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

      The wild rice with chestnuts and mushrooms stuffing sounds perfect with chicken which my family prefer it than turkey. I will definitely give it a try, in fact, I can't wait to cook this dish!!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      Sounds and looks incredibly delicious. Congrats on LotD!

    • wineisle profile image


      7 years ago

      This looks delicious - but what is a Cornish Game Hen? It looks as if it is a Poussin (a small, young chicken)... either way, the results look mouthwatering.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My mouth started watering just from reading the title of the lens! Looks incredible!

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 

      7 years ago from Surrey, UK

      Never had it but looks very yummy!

    • gamecheathub profile image


      7 years ago

      Looks so delicious. Really intrigued by the potato action. #getINmahBELLY

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Yum, my mother used to make a dish just like this. Her recipe is long gone, but I can't wait to try this one. Congrats on LOTD

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Looks yummy. Worth a try.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations for the LOTD! you make me hungry .. (:

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am thrilled to see you receive LotD for this beautifully delicious that is a definite day maker!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow. Thanks for sharing. great lens. Will try it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! They do look very tasty and nice alternative for Thanksgiving.

    • GeekGirl1 profile image


      7 years ago

      those look very appetizing! you know when it's ready just by looking at their color. delicious lens!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      These look delicious, perfect for the coming holidays!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      It's been such a long time since I have roasted cornish hens. I like the idea of stuffing them with the wild rice mixture too. I probably would not replace my turkey for Thanksgiving, however, this would make a tasty meal for some special event for sure. Congrats on LOTD!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 

      7 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Congrats on LotD! This looks really delicious. Sometimes I love reading about food almost as much as eating it.

    • safereview profile image


      7 years ago from Kansas City

      This is sooo awesome!!! I will definitely be making this soon. Great article, very well done. And congrats on the Lens of the Day selection, it's well deserved!

    • Commandrix profile image


      7 years ago from Benson, IL

      This sounds like a good idea for the holidays, or any time you get sick of chicken or turkey.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Simply and deliciously done for a meal that will be remembered as special. Cornish game hens are just so pretty on the plate and I'd be wanting to get at the wild rice and mushroom stuffing, what a combo. Like you say, advance planning is important and time to start planning to make your recipe for Christmas or to make any day special!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens..

      I wanna eat it right now.. : )


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