Cornish Hens with Grand Marnier Stuffing

Cornish Hens with Grand Marnier Stuffing

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I love to serve Cornish Hens with Grand Marnier Stuffing during the holidays. Apricot-glazed Cornish hens, with a cornbread stuffing flavored with dried apricots, pine nuts, and orange-flavored Grand Marnier liqueur.

Elegant Christmas Dinner Table Setting

My mother-in-law made this dish for our family one Christmas, and I thought it was simply charming. The table presentation alone is quite splendid, with all those little birds on a platter. But the addition of the flavorful stuffing took the dinner to another level. Truly exquisite. 

Before that, the only other time I’d eaten a Cornish hen was at what was then called the Dixie Stampede in Branson, MO. Cowboy waiters served everyone these delightful little dinners of Cornish hens, corn on the cob, homemade biscuits, and I don’t even remember what else. But it was a fun evening of entertainment, and I recommend it, even now. 

 

Ingredients to Make Cornish Hens with Grand Marnier Stuffing

  • dried apricots
  • Grand Marnier liqueur
  • cornbread stuffing mix
  • butter
  • celery
  • yellow onion
  • pine nuts
  • dried thyme
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Cornish Game Hens (4-6 of them)
  • apricot jam

 

A Note About the Ingredients

  Grand Marnier Orange Flavored Liqueur

If you don’t have Grand Marnier, you may substitute it with another orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau, Curacao, or even Triple Sec. Possibly Apricot Brandy would also work well.

Use any cornbread stuffing mix that you like. During the holidays it’s easy to find name brands such as Stove Top, on sale for nearly the same price as a store brand.

You may substitute slivered almonds for the pine nuts, if you so desire.

When buying Cornish game hens, I’ve found they are usually marked down in price during the holidays and are more readily available. Aldi is a great place to shop for them.

Finally, in regard to the apricot jam, I’ve used name brand and store brands without a noticeable difference. You may spoon the jam into a microwavable bowl, or simply heat the jam in its jar, but please be careful not to heat it so much that it breaks.

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

 

Preparing Your Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table. Using a Chef’s knife and cutting board, chop dried apricots and celery. Dice onion. Set aside until ready to use.

In a small saucepan, heat chopped dried apricots and Grand Marnier over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package.

In a small skillet melt butter and saute chopped celery and diced onion until translucent, about 7-10 minutes.

 Serving Apricot Grand Marnier Dressing - Stuffing

Transfer prepared cornbread stuffing into a large bowl and mix in sauted celery and onion. Stir in apricot mixture and pine nuts. Season with dried thyme, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

You may also serve this Apricot Grand Marnier Stuffing as a side dish. If you choose to do this, place the stuffing in a greased baking dish. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes. Then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until crisp on top. 

 

Preparing the Cornish Hens

Clean and wash Cornish hens. Pat dry with paper towels.

Stuff Cornish hens with cornbread mixture and tie legs together with cooking twine. Place on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Smooth butter over each hen. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

Heat apricot jam in a microwave for 40-60 seconds until it becomes soft and runny.

Using a silicone pastry brush, spread liquid jam over hens and bake, uncovered, for an additional 30-45 minutes or until meat juices run clear, basting every 10-15 minutes.

Apricot Dressing with Grand Mariner

Serve roasted hens on a platter. If desired, place any extra stuffing in the center. This recipe will serve 6 whole servings, and up to 12 half servings.

Wine Suggestions for this dish are your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, or Chardonnay.

See more Holiday Dinner Ideas Here. View more Main Dishes Here.

Recipe for Cornish Hens with Grand Marnier Stuffing

Cornish Hens with Grand Marnier Stuffing

I love to serve Cornish hens during the holidays. Here's a delicious recipe to make for your Christmas Eve dinner. Apricot-glazed Cornish hens with a cornbread stuffing flavored with dried apricots, pine nuts, and orange-flavored Grand Marnier. So good!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: English
Keyword: Apricot Glaze, cornbread stuffing, Cornish Game Hens, Garnd Marnier Liqueur, Holiday Meals, Thanksgiving Dinner
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

Cutting Board
Cooking Twine
Baking Sheet
Pastry Brush

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried apricots chopped
  • 1 cup Grand Marnier orange-flavored liqueur
  • 6 oz. cornbread stuffing mix prepared as directed
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion diced
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 each Cornish Game Hens
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 18 oz apricot jam heated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table. Using a Chef's knife and cutting board, chop dried apricots and celery. Dice onion. Set aside until ready to use.
  • In a small saucepan, heat chopped dried apricots and Grand Marnier over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package.
  • In a small skillet melt butter and saute chopped celery and diced onion until translucent, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Transfer prepared cornbread stuffing into a large bowl and mix in sauted celery and onion. Stir in apricot mixture and pine nuts. Season with dried thyme, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Clean and wash Cornish hens. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Stuff Cornish hens with cornbread mixture and tie legs together with cooking twine. Place on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Smooth butter over each hen. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  • Heat apricot jam in a microwave for 40-60 seconds until it becomes soft and runny.
  • Brush hens with jam and bake, uncovered, for an additional 30-45 minutes or until meat juices run clear, basting every 10-15 minutes. Serves 6.

Notes

*Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted. 

Nutrition

Calories: 800kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 1168mg | Potassium: 582mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 64g | Vitamin A: 1842IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 3mg
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