- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
- 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1/3 cup toasted pecan pieces, broken
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons dried currants
- 4 dried apricots, diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 Cornish hens, patted dry
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Saute the onions and celery until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for 1 minute more. In a mixing bowl combine the onion mixture with the rice, parsley, nuts and dried fruits and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place 1/2 cup of the stuffing into the cavity of each hen. Tie the legs of each bird together with kitchen twine.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the remaining butter with the vinegar. Brush the birds all over with the butter mixture and season with salt and pepper. Put the hens on a rack in a large roasting pan, breast-side up. Roast the hens until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170 degrees F., about 80 minutes. Set the birds aside at room temperature, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes before carving. Split hens in half through the breast with a sharp knife or poultry shears, and keep the stuffing intact. Arrange birds skin-side up, on a platter, garnish with sprigs of parsley and serve.
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