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Game hens stuffed with kale, walnuts and cranberries

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 4 to 6
Game hens stuffed with kale, walnuts and cranberries
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Coarsely chop the kale and add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until it softens and reduces, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season generously with one-half teaspoon salt, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, another 2 to 3 minutes until it is quite tender. Reserve.

2

Place the cranberries in a small bowl, add the orange liqueur and set aside to soften, at least 10 minutes. Melt the remaining one-half cup butter in a small skillet with the orange zest. Set aside.

3

Rinse the game hens and pat them dry. Season each generously inside and out with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a grind of pepper. Brush them lightly with some of the orange butter.

4

In a large bowl, combine the kale, the cranberries with their liqueur, the remaining orange butter, the walnuts and a generous grinding of pepper and stir to combine. Stuff the cavities of the game hens with the kale mixture.

5

Tie the birds’ leg ends together with kitchen twine to hold the shape and keep the stuffing from spilling out. Arrange the birds on a rack in a roasting pan and cook until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh reaches 150 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes, for medium-well; or 160 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes, for well-done. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.


Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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