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Roasted Cornish hens stuffed with a delicious brown rice pilaf and coated with a sweet and tangy apricot glaze makes for a simple yet elegant meal.
I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Are you ready? This time of year starts the complete whirlwind with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Hubby’s Birthday, Daddy’s Birthday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and whoa New Year’s Day! Where did the year go, right?!?!
So as the busyness of it all begins, I thought I’d kick off the holiday season and host a simple yet elegant Thanksgiving dinner. Nope! Not bothering with that huge turkey this year! I decided to keep it easy-breezy with Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens. This way, everyone gets their very own hen and no one’s fighting over those two drumsticks off of the turkey. These Cornish hens are brushed with a sweet and tangy apricot glaze and then stuffed with a delicious brown rice pilaf made with hot Italian sausage, dried cranberries and toasted almonds. Your guests will be thinking gourmet and you’ll be thinking what a nice and easy break you got this year! 🙂 The added bonus is that you won’t feel wiped out before you even begin your super early hour Black Friday shopping excursion. 🙂
While I was at my local Southfield Kroger, I noticed that they’re now carrying the Tyson® Premium Cornish Hens that are 100% all natural. They have no added hormones, artificial ingredients or preservatives so rest assured that you’ll be serving high quality hens to the family! They’re also individually wrapped so there are no worries about taking home any freezer burned birds. 🙂
So what do you think about shaking up your Thanksgiving meal this year? Take a load off and reflect on the true meaning of the season which is to have a heart of thanksgiving! God’s Word states that we are to enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4 (KJV). What are you thankful for this year? As for me, there is so very much to be thankful for as He’s been so good and faithful to me and my family. Hallelujah! He is so worthy! Say Grace and enjoy guys!
Apricot Glazed Cornish Hens & Rice Pilaf
- 4 Tyson Premium Cornish Hens 1 and 1/2 lbs. each
- 2 T. butter melted
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
- Rice Pilaf
- 1 T. extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
- 1/4 lb. hot Italian sausage
- 1/2 c. onion diced
- 1/4 c. carrot diced
- 1/4 c. celery diced
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 2 tsp. orange zest divided
- 1 c. brown rice
- 1/3 c. dried cranberries
- 2 T. almond slivers toasted
- 1 T. fresh parsley chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme chopped
- 2 c. + 1 and 1/2 c. reduced sodium chicken stock
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- Apricot Glaze
- 2 c. apricot preserves
- 1 c. fresh orange juice
- 1/4 c. Dijon mustard
- 1 T. ketchup
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. salt
- Dashes of hot sauce
- 4 T. butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and brown sausage completely for about 5 minutes.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the garlic, orange zest and rice. Cook for a few minutes.
- Add the dried cranberries, almonds, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and 2 c. chicken broth. Bring to a boil and place in the oven to cook for about 40 minutes or until the liquid is completely absorbed.
- Once the rice is cooked, remove from the oven and allow the rice to cool completely.
- Combine all of the glaze ingredients except the butter in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until reduced by half and thickened. Reduce the heat and add the butter and melt completely.
- Season the inside of the hens liberally with salt and pepper and brush the outside with the melted butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and poultry seasoning.
- Stuff the hens with 3/4 cup of cooled rice.
- Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the bodies.
- Roast the hens in a roasting pan filled with 1 and 1/2 c. chicken stock for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, pouring glaze over each hen liberally and brushing with pastry brush. DO NOT CROSS CONTAMINATE BRUSH.
- Continue to roast and glaze the hens in 15 minute increments (60-75 minutes total) or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh . Thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted into the thigh and the rice should register 140 degrees. Serve the hens with the extra rice and glaze. Say Grace and enjoy!
For more delicious recipes, check out these ideas here!
Meaghan | Cook. Craft. Love. says
These look so good! And I bet that apricot glaze is to die for. Maybe I can talk the roommates into these instead of a huge turkey!
Hi Meaghan! Yep! Super simple and delicious. Thanks for stopping by!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes) says
These look sensational. Gosh I wish I had this in front of me right now!
Hi Jocelyn! I’m so honored that you stopped by! They are sure to please. Thanks a bunch!! ?
Mmmmm… It looks so elegant and tender! I think this will be a perfect dinner for two since it’s just me and the hubby this holiday. I can’t wait to try it.
Hey Shawn! I’m sure you and the hubby will enjoy. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi. I just wanted to point out that directions 8 and 9 should be reversed. You’ve got us stuffing the birds BEFORE seasoning their inside cavities. Oops! (I’ve actually been wondering why the need to season the cavities if they’ll be taking on the scrumptious flavors of the stuffing while roasting.)
The recipe looks delicious and I plan to make those hens, but with a simpler stuffing. Your ingredients for that stuffing — which must taste wonderful — are just too overwhelming. What a list of ingredients! Whew!!
Great catch Rick! All corrected. As for seasoning the inside of the hens, I like to take every opportunity to build flavors. I was always taught that seasoning each layer/side helps with achieving this goal. Be sure to let me know how it turns out with your stuffing. Thanks for stopping by and have a Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
I am confused… where does the frozen rice pilaf come into play? Do I mix it with the uncooked brown rice, and bake together?
Hi Tammy! The rice pilaf is in steps 2-6. Hope this helps!
Penny rusko says
Hi I’m confused on the roasting with the water. I see for the 15 minute. But the rest of the cooking am I still cooking with the chicken stock in pan or only the beginning. Thank you so much
Confused in Ohio.
Roasting with water????
What are the measurements for the rice . Thank you
Sorry I missed this Vanessa! One cup of brown rice. All of the ingredients to make the rice are listed under “Rice Pilaf”.
I realize this is a super old post. But I found it on Pinterest and made these hens on 2019 and HOLY MOLY they are so delicious!! I added diced sweet potatoes to the rice pilaf, mmmmm.
So glad you enjoyed them!!
Cindy Draper says
This was Amazing and very delicious!!
Definitely going to make this again!!