Roast Cornish Hens Stuffed with Oyster Dressing
- 1 pint shucked oysters and their liquor
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped yellow onions
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 5 teaspoons Essence, divided, recipe follows
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
- 1 tablespoon chopped green onions
- 2 cups (1-inch cubes) French bread or homemade-style white bread
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 4 Cornish hens
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Sauteed spinach, for serving
- Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drain the oysters, reserving the oyster liquor. Set aside.
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the Essence, the cayenne pepper, and saute, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the bay leaf, garlic and basil, and saute for 1 minute. Add the stock and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the green onions, oyster liquor and the bread cubes. Stir to mix well, and remove from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl combine the bread and vegetable mixture with the oysters and cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly. Set the stuffing aside as you prepare the hens. Season each hen, both inside and out, with 1 teaspoon Essence and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place 3/4 cup of the stuffing into the cavity of each bird and use toothpicks and twine to tie the hens so that the cavity is shut and the legs are tucked in. Twist the wing tips behind the backs of the hens and place in a large casserole dish.
Drizzle each bird with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place in the oven to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the cavity of the hens registers 165 degrees F, about 1 hour. Remove the hens from the oven and serve immediately with spinach.Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch
Published by William Morrow, 1993.