Bulgur, Herb, and Feta Stuffed Cornish Hens

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Cook: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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1 1/2 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup medium-grain bulgur

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus generous sprigs for garnish

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus generous sprigs for garnish

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus generous sprigs for garnish

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

4 scallions (white and green), chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta (about 3 ounces)

4 Cornish game hens, backbone and breast bone removed (butterflied)

Charred Tomato Coulis, recipe follows

Charred Tomato Coulis:

4 medium ripe tomatoes

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, toast the bulgur in a medium skillet over medium heat until fragrant and nutty, about 4 minutes. Stir in the bulgur, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the bulgur to a medium bowl and fluff with a fork. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, chopped herbs, pine nuts, 2 teaspoons salt, scallions, and garlic and season with pepper, to taste. Cool slightly and add the egg and feta, and mix to combine. Set the stuffing aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  4. Lay the hens on a work surface. Starting from the neck of a hen, slip a couple fingers between the skin and breast, and loosen the skin. Take a large spoonful of the stuffing and slip the spoon between the skin and breast. With your free hand, hold the stuffing in place and gently pull the spoon out, leaving the stuffing behind. Press the skin down to evenly distribute the stuffing over the breast. Repeat until the hens are evenly stuffed. Cross the legs of the birds at the breastbone and tie them with a piece of kitchen twine.
  5. Arrange the hens breast-side up on a baking sheet. Brush all over with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast the birds until well browned and crispy, and an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted into the thigh, about 40 minutes.
  7. To serve, split the hens in half lengthwise. Pour the coulis onto a platter and arrange the hens on top. Garnish with the herb sprigs and serve.

Charred Tomato Coulis:

Yield: about 2 cups
  1. Put the tomatoes over 2 gas burners on high and cook, turning occasionally, until charred and peeling. Alternatively, broil the tomatoes until charred. Put the tomatoes in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside to steam for 5 minutes. Peel and seed the tomatoes.
  2. Transfer the tomatoes to a blender with the vinegar and garlic and puree until smooth. While the motor is running, drizzle in the oil until incorporated. Season with pepper, to taste.