These Cornish Game Hens with Wild Rice, Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing are so tender and flavorful! With the most delicious sausage and wild rice stuffing, they’re perfect for a special date night, a Sunday Supper with friends, or a festive holiday meal.
The biggest food event of the year is almost here! Where will you be spending the holiday?
Honestly, I love good food… but what I love more is a relaxing day with people I love. Wouldn’t you agree?
So I have a little pre-turkey day advice for you…
If the turkey is over-cooked, just slather that white meat with some gravy. If the stuffing is too dry, again add gravy. And if those mashed potatoes are lumpy? Yep, you guessed it: more gravy.
Clearly gravy is the answer to everything in my book this Thanksgiving. Just kidding (but not really). I do adore homemade turkey gravy.
But seriously, if something doesn’t turn out exactly the way you planned it, give yourself a break. Although we love this festive holiday and all the deliciousness it offers, remember that the most important thing is the people you’re sharing it with.
I’m not sure where that came from, but I think maybe I needed to hear that more than you. Thanks for indulging me, and if it encourages you too then I’ll call that a win!
Let’s talk turkey, or ummmm, how about chicken!
Or to be totally accurate – Cornish Game Hens with Wild Rice, Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing!
What is a Game Hen?
In case you’re not familiar with these little guys, they are in fact miniature chickens. Allow me to shed some light on the topic…
They’re truly just really small chickens.
Cornish game hens are not really a “game bird” as the name states. They’re actually a cross between the Cornish Chicken and the White Plymouth Rock Chicken. They are young birds, weighing no more than two pounds and ready to cook.
They’re kind of like personal pan pizzas, only in the form of a chicken… so “personal stuffed chickens!” Okay, that name doesn’t really have a ring to it, but at least it’s accurate. Lol
They taste similar to a regular roasted chicken but they cook in a fraction of the time. And you can stuff them with whatever tasty flavor combo you enjoy.
Today we’re making a sausage, mushroom, and wild rice stuffing. Sounds good – doesn’t it?
It is delish my friend!
How to cook Cornish Game Hens:
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan, add rinsed rice and salt and bring back to a boil, and put the lid on the pan. Turn down to a low simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Then remove from the heat uncovered.
- Prep the game hens by removing them from the package, draining any liquid from inside, then patting them dry inside and out with paper towel.
- In a large saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil, chopped onions and celery, salt and pepper, and saute for 8-9 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and saute one more minute, then add the sausage and saute for 5 minutes.
- Next, add the mushrooms, thyme and sage and cook for 3 minutes.
- Fold in the rice and remove from the heat.
- Stuff the cavities of each hen with 4-5 tablespoons of the stuffing and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Season each hen well with salt and pepper on all sides, add to a large roasting pan and drizzle with butter.
- Roast for 20 minutes on 425, then reduce the temp to 350 for 30-35 more minutes or until they reach 165 degrees when tested with a digital thermometer.
- Baste the chickens with the chicken stock every 10 minutes. To get the skin to a golden color turn the oven to 500 degrees and roast the birds for about 5 more minutes just before serving on a rimmed baking sheet.
(See the recipe card below for more detailed step-by-step cooking instructions!)
Finally, use the drippings from the bottom of the pan to make a delicious gravy-esque sauce. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right – I’m obsessed with gravy! There’s no shame in my game people.
Pour all the liquid from the roasting pan into a glass measuring cup and allow the fat and juices to separate. The fat will rise to the top. Remove the fat and add the pan drippings to a saute pan over medium high heat, simmer for 6-8 minutes. This should thicken the sauce and intensify the flavors a bit.
Serve the game hens with a drizzle of the sauce or serve it on the side and allow everyone to sauce their own.
These game hens are so tender, and the stuffing is so herbaceous and flavorful. The sauce is a delicious savory gravy that brings this dish together.
There you have it! These Cornish Game Hens with Wild Rice, Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing are truly a tasty meal that will impress all of your guests.
Serve these Cornish Game Hens with a salad and some Balsamic Brussels Sprouts and enjoy a delicious and impressive meal for a family dinner, date night or even a special holiday!
These Cornish Game Hens with Wild Rice, Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing are so tender and delicious!
- ½ cup uncooked wild rice rinsed
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 3 celery stalks finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ pound ground sausage of your choice, casing removed and meat crumbled
- 4 ounces white button mushrooms chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped
- 6 Cornish game hens
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup chicken stock
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan, add rinsed rice and salt and bring back to a boil, and put the lid on the pan. Turn down to a low simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Then uncover and remove the pan from the heat.
- In a large saute pan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add chopped onions and celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and saute for 8-9 minutes.
- Add the 3 large minced cloves garlic and saute one more minute.
- Next, add the sausage and saute for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme and sage and cook for 3 minutes.
- Fold in the wild rice and remove from the heat.
Prep the game hens by removing them from the package, draining any liquid from inside, then patting them dry inside and out with paper towel.
Stuff each bird with 4-5 tablespoons of the stuffing. Using some kitchen twine tie the legs together on each hen and season each one well with salt and pepper on all sides. Add them to a roasting pan and drizzle with butter.
Roast for 20 minutes on 425, then reduce the temp to 350 for 30-40 more minutes or until they reach 165 degrees when tested with a digital thermometer in the middle of the breast. Baste the chickens with the chicken stock every 10 minutes.
When the hens are finished cooking remove them from the oven and transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet. Turn the oven up to 500 degrees. This will allow you to get all the drippings from the pan for the sauce and allow you to crisp up the birds right before serving.
A few minutes before you're ready to eat put the hens back into the oven for 5 minutes or so to heat up and give them a golden color.
- Transfer all drippings & liquid from the roasting pan into a glass measuring cup and allow the fat and juices to separate (the fat will rise to the top).
Remove the fat then add the remaining liquid to a saute pan. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, and simmer for 6-8 minutes. This should thicken the sauce a bit and intensify the flavors.
- Serve the game hens with a drizzle of the sauce or serve it on the side and allow everyone to sauce their own. Enjoy!
Note that the serving size for the nutrition card below is 1/2 of one game hen.