THUNDER BAY – Are you looking for something special for New Year’s Eve for that dinner for two? Fresh Ontario cornish hens are loaded with a versatile stuffing of shallots, fig and creamy Ontario goat cheese will make for a flavourful impact. To offer a harmonious balance of sweet and savoury, crisp Ontario bacon envelopes the hen keeping the meat moist and juicy.
|2||cornish hens, rinsed and patted dry||2|
|1 tsp||each, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, divided||5 mL|
|2 tbsp||olive oil, divided||30 mL|
|1 tbsp||fresh thyme leaves||15 mL|
|2||cloves garlic, minced||2|
|2||large shallot, minced||1|
|2 cups||finely chopped mushrooms||500 mL|
|1 tbsp||balsamic vinegar||15 mL|
|2 tbsp||fig spread||30 mL|
|2 oz||crumbled goat cheese||60 g|
|1 tbsp||fresh chopped rosemary||15 mL|
|2||strips, Homegrown Ontario bacon, cut in half crosswise||50 mL|
Season each cornish hen with 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each of salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl, add 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil, thyme, and garlic, and toss to combine. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours.
In skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Cook shallots, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, remaining salt and pepper and cook until golden and liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and fig spread. Let cool completely. Stir in goat cheese and rosemary.
Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C). Remove 1 hen from marinade. Gently loosen skin from breasts and stuff half of the goat cheese mixture underneath. Wrap 2 strips of bacon over breasts and transfer hen, breast side up, to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining hen. Roast until just cooked through (cut into inner thigh; meat will still be slightly pink), about 15 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.
Chef’s Tip: This goat cheese stuffing would also work well served with Ontario pork, pheasant and quail.
Source: Homegrown Ontario