Roasted Cornish Game Hens Stuffed with Swiss Chard and Pine Nuts with a Red Wine-Thyme Sauce


1 Serving
  • 1-tablespoon currants
  • 1 or 2 slices bacon, chopped into ¼ inch strips
  • 1 ½ minced onions
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 pounds leafy, young Swiss chard, stalks removed, cut into ½ inch strips salt and pepper to taste (the Swiss chard can be substitute with  Kale)
  • 1 ½ -tablespoon pine nuts
  • 4 Cornish game hens
  • 1 ½ tablespoon virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 carrot, diced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme


Red wine –thyme reduction

  • ½ cup Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon or other red wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ cups brown chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme for garnish


Preheat oven at 400°. Place the currants in a small bowl, cover with warm water, and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain and reserve. Place the bacon in a large sauté pan or skillet and sauté until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat, add half onion, and sauté over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, increase the heat to high, and add the Swiss chard. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until the leaves are wilted but still green, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and let the stuffing cool. Stir in the bacon, pine nuts, and currants. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Fill each of the Cornish game hens with the stuffing, brush with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Heat up a sauté pan over high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and sear each hen on her two breast sides to a golden color (this promotes even cooking and coloring).

In a roasting pan arranges the diced carrots and onion. Display the hens over the vegetables; add the 4 sprigs of thyme. Roast the hens in the preheated oven for about ½ hour or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F and the juices run clear. Remove the hens from the oven, loosely tent with foil and keep warm.


To prepare the reduction, drain off excess fat from the roasting pan and place the pan on top of the stove over medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, add the thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce the mixture to 2 tablespoons, add the broth, and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and strain through a fine sieve.

Place the hens on warm serving plates and spoon the reduction over them.

Chef’s Notes:

Allow about 1 hour to prepare. The stuffing can be made ahead of time and the birds are quick to stuff, so this dish is ideal for entertaining. If you wish, roast whole garlic cloves, shallots cut in half, and carrots cut in 1-inch rounds with the birds on a bed of roasted vegetables.

Recommended Wines: A soft, fruity Pinot Noir.