Cornish Game Hens and Shallots with Dried Cranberry Gravy is an outstanding meal for Winter holidays or any time. Seriously delicious flavor is found in each bite from a great sauce and the wonderful combination of shallot and cranberry.
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 1-1/2-pound Cornish hens; rinsed and patted, dry
- 1 1/2 pounds shallots; trimmed and peeled
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 Cup chicken broth
- 1/2 Cup red wine
- 1/2 Cup water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tablespoons water
- 1/3 Cup dried cranberries
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- In a small bowl, blend together well 4 tablespoons of the butter with the sage, thyme, zest and salt. Loosen the skin covering the breast meat on each hen by slipping your fingers under the skin and sliding them between the skin and the meat. Divide the butter mixture bettween the hens, inserting it under the skin of each hen and smoothing it evenly by rubbing the outside of the skin, and season the hens with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a roasting pan large enough to hold the Cornish game hens, toss the shallots with the oil and salt and pepper to taste and roast them in the middle of the oven, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are golden.
- Arrange hens, breast side up, on top of the shallots. Roast in the middle of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until juices run clear when fleshy part of a thigh is pierced (or until a meat thermometer inserted in fleshy part of thigh registers 175 degrees). Transfer the hens with the shallots to a platter and let stand while making the gravy.
- To the roasting pan add the broth, wine, water and simmer the mixture, scraping up the brown bits, for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve set over a small saucepan, whisk the cornstarch mixture, and add it to the saucepan with the cranberries, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the gravy, whisking, for 5 minutes.
- Serve the hens with gravy.
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