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Cornish Game Hens with Wild Rice-Goat Cheese Stuffing and Red Chile Gravy

Serves: 4

Wild Rice-Goat Cheese Stuffing
1 cup wild rice (do not use the long grain %26 wild rice variety)
5 cups water
6 ounces Spanish chorizo, finely diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 cup chicken stock
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
¼-1/2 cup bread crumbs

1. Place wild rice, water and 1 tablespoon of salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook the rice until grains open all the way (the rice should be very soft to the bite). Drain the rice well and place in a large bowl.
2. Place a small sauté pan over medium heat, add the chorizo and cook until golden brown and the fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
3. Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and the chorizo and bring to a simmer. Pour the mixture over the rice and stir to combine. Fold in the goat cheese and parsley and ¼ cup of the bread crumbs. The mixture should wet but if it appears too have too much liquid, add the remaining breadcrumbs a tablespoon at a time until the mixture just comes together but is still moist; season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature.

Cornish Hens
4 Cornish game hens (1 – 1 ½ pounds each), washed and patted dry with paper towels
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Wild Rice-Goat Cheese Stuffing

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rub each hen with 1 tablespoon of the butter and season generously with salt and coarsely ground black pepper, including the cavity. 
2. Loosely fill each cavity of the hens with approximately ½ cup of the wild rice stuffing and tie the legs together with butcher’s twine.
3. Place the hens in a roasting pan, breast-side up, and roast until the skin is golden brown and the thickest part of the breast meat registers 155 degrees on an instant read thermometer, 45-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving. 
3. Ladle some of the red chile gravy onto a large dinner plate and top with a Cornish hen. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.

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