Couscous-Stuffed Cornish Hens

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 1h 15m

Serves 4

Moroccan-inspired couscous, chunky with apricots and almonds and flavored with cinnamon and honey, makes a quick and unexpected stuffing for roasted hens. The honey drizzled on the birds during the last ten minutes of cooking gives them a glistening, crisp, brown skin.
This exotic dish calls for an equally exotic wine, like a delicious Australian sémillon—a not-too-dry white with hints of tangerine and almonds.


  • 1/2 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, roasted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 Cornish game hens (about 1 1/4 pounds each)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 3 tablespoons water


Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, bring the broth, the apricots and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a simmer over moderately high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add the almonds, 1/2 tablespoon of the butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the honey, the cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Fill the cavities of the hens with the couscous mixture. Twist the wings of the hens behind their backs and, if you like, tie the legs together. Put the hens, breast-side up, in a small roasting pan. Coat the hens with the oil; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

Roast the hens for 45 minutes. Baste them with the pan juices and drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon honey. Continue roasting until just done, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Transfer hens to a plate. Let stand 5 minutes. Spoon the fat from the roasting pan and add the water to the juices. Cook over moderate heat, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits, until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cut the hens in half and serve with the stuffing and pan juices.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Food and Wine. All rights reserved.

RecID 3142

nutrition information per serving

563 calories; 21g total fat; 270mg cholesterol; 218mg sodium; 28g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 62g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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