Game Hens with Olives makes an exceptional, exciting and alluring dinner. It is classy, but not aloof, achievable, but for the average gourmand.
Game Hens with Olives

Game Hens with Olives
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4
  • 4 Cornish hens or poussin
  • 8 ounces ground beef (lightly sautéed)
  • 8 ounces Garlic Sausage (lightly sautéed, if it is not pre-cooked) or a mild pork/veal sausage
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram and thyme (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Truffle butter or regular butter
  • 2 Quarts chicken stock
  • 1/4 Cup Brandy, Armagnac or Cognac
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/2 ounce truffles (optional)
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 onion
  • 3 strips of smoky bacon, chopped
  • bouquet garni
  • 10 ounces green pitted olives
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  1. Take 4 birds and put a stuffing of sausage and meats and truffles (if you don’t have them use truffle butter or oil) seasoned with nutmeg, herbs and salt and pepper inside the little cavity. Put the truffle butter under the skins of the bird… take care for the skin is very fragile. Salt and pepper the birds.
  2. Tie them up and let the pigeons brown in a heavy, shallow pan… mostly the bottom of the bird. Remove them and put the bacon, shallots and onion into a saucepan and sauté.
  3. Add salt, pepper, a bouquet garni. Put in the pigeons back in the pan, and let them simmer gently for 30 minutes with the saucepan covered. Add some pitted green olives that have been well de-salted (boil them in a pan of water, then let them sit in fresh water) and add the Brandy, Armagnac/Cognac and cook for 10 more minutes.
  4. Preheat the broiler.
  5. Let the birds braise well in the sauce and then remove the birds. Reduce the sauce. Take the molasses and a few tablespoons of the sauce and brush on the birds. Stick the birds under the broiler to brown for a few moments to give some color to the skin.
  6. Serve the birds on a dish surrounded by the olives and the strained sauce that ought to be rich and thick. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.


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