• 4 Cornish Hens
  • 1-1/2 lbs Mild Italian Sausage (remove from casing if using links)
  • 2 oz. (3-4cloves) fresh Garlic, peeled and smashed slightly
  • 1/4 oz. & 2 Tbs Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup White Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cups Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 to 3 Cups Green Olives, pitted, sliced in large pieces & keep the liquid olives are packed in. (should be about 4oz.)
  • 1/8 Cup Fresh Basil, rough chopped
  • 1/8 Cup Fresh Italian Parsley, rough chopped
  • 2-3 Cups Chestnuts, roasted and Peeled, cut in half
  • 2 Cups Bread Cubes, well toasted and cut into very small cubes
  • 1/2 Cup & 1 Qt. Chicken Stock
  • 4 very large Portabello Mushrooms (or equivalent)
  • 4-6 Slices per Hen of Pancetta (mild, low salt) sliced paper thin and flat - not rolled (approximately 10" long X 3" Wide)
  • 1 Tbs Salt
  • 1-1/2 Tbs Black Pepper


Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Rinse hens under cold running water. Pat dry. Cut away a little of the skin from the breast to allow more flavor to penetrate the meat. Sprinkle salt on a damp hand and rub entire cavity. Set hens at an angle on a plate to allow any accumulating liquids to drain. Refrigerate until ready to stuff.
Saute sausage until browned. Pour into strainer and drain.
In 2oz. olive oil brown garlic and remove. Add onions and saute until glazed. Add sliced Mushrooms. Saute about two minutes and add sliced green olives, basil and parsley. Saute until mushrooms soften. Add chestnuts and simmer for about a minute - just to let the flavors mingle - then deglaze the pan with the liquid from the olives.
Pour mixture over bread cubes, add the cooked sausage and toss. Add just enough chicken stock to only slightly moisten. Refrigerate to cool.
Stuff hens. Tie legs and truss cavity only at top, allowing a little opening at the tail.
If some of the stuffing spills out during roasting, it only enhances the flavor of the sauce (gravy) made from the pan drippings and also helps makes a very nice presentation.
Rub Hens all over with virgin olive oil. Place portabello mushroom cap or caps over breast and wrap pancetta over mushroom and fully around hens. Place in heavy baking pan and add chicken stock. Bake in preheated at 325 degree oven approximately 45 minutes or until internal temperate reaches 165 degrees.
Baste frequently. Cover thighs if they appear to be the browning too quickly.

Sauce Preparation

1 Qt. Chicken Stock
1/4 Cup chopped Parsley
Pan Drippings ( should be about 1 3/4 Cups)
1 Cup sliced Green Olives
1/2 Cup Flour
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Bring pan drippings to a simmer. Add flour and simmer, stirring constantly until mixture darkens and has a nutty aroma. Add chicken stock, simmer about 4 minutes until the flour taste is gone, stirring constantly. Be sure any lumps are thoroughly blended. Blend in parsley and sliced olives and serve.

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Submitted 6/13/05.
Source: Copyright 2000, Georgetown Restaurant Corp.
Submitted By: Marlen
Cornish Hens with Italian Sausage Stuffing