Deliciously juicy little hens with a savory persimmon dressing.
You may have had persimmons as pudding, or perhaps even not at all. It is often overlooked at the market and that’s a shame since it is delicious and wonderful, especially as part of your autumn or Thanksgiving menus.
In this recipe, the persimmons are roasted and prepared in a savory treatment, which works, much in the way certain other fruits work in savory recipes. The persimmon flavor actually pairs quite nicely with the hens and cornbread.
The dressing/stuffing portion of this recipe may become, in fact, an ideal stuffing for your holiday turkey. The best way to multiply the recipe up for that is to take however many cups of stuffing mixture you would ordinarily use in your turkey, duck, or goose and figure that this recipe uses 4 cups.
The corn bread stuffing mix is from another recipe of mine, part of the “Palatable Pantry”, but you can substitute packaged corn bread crumbles from the market if you like.
Spatchcocking the cornish hens is quite easy with a pair of kitchen shears, and splitting the hens into broiler halves is just a minor extra step. If you would like to see a photo tutorial on spatchcocking chicken, I have a demonstration of it in my recipe for Jerk Chicken. Just follow the link below and scroll down past the recipe for jerk.
- 2 cornish hens, either spatchcocked or cut into split broilers
- 2 tbsp. soft butter
- 1/4 tsp. thyme
- 1/4 tsp. rubbed sage
- salt and pepper
- 3 fuyu persimmons, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups corn bread stuffing mix
- 2 cups stale bread crumbles (I pulse stale bread in the food processor a couple of times)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 2 tbsp. butter
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Toss chopped persimmon with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes or until the edges of the persimmon just start to brown and caramelize.
- Remove from oven.
- Saute onion and celery in butter until soft, and set aside.
- Mix roasted persimmon chunks with remaining dressing ingredients.
- Spread dressing in a greased casserole dish, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.
- While dressing is baking, spatchcock or cut hens into split broilers by cutting out the spine of the hens on either side with kitchen shears, then either flattening the top (spatchcock) or cutting through the front into two pieces per hen.
- Butter skin of hens and sprinkle with seasonings, salt and pepper.
- Remove foil from dressing and place hens on top of dressing.
- Increase oven temperature to 400F and bake for 15 minutes.
- Then reduce heat to 325F and bake for another 45 minutes or so or until the inside temperature of the hens reads 165F in the thickest part.
- Allow hens to sit for 15 minutes or so before cutting and serving to stabilize juices and increase meat temperature another 5 degrees.
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