This is a great alternative to the big turkey. 
Your guests will be so impressed with how everyone gets their own 
little "turkey" on each of their plates.

My husband said this is a great alternative to stuffing for people that don't like traditional stuffing like him. Of course you can always add your own stuffing recipe in place of this one.

makes 4

3 T butter
1 C chopped onions
1/2 C chopped celery
1 1/2 C diced, peeled & cored apples
2 t chopped fresh sage
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
4 C 1/2" cubed cornbread
1 lg egg, beaten
1/2 C packed shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
6 T apple cider or apple juice

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. 
Add onion and celery; sauté until beginning to color, about 5 minutes. 
It will smell aromatic.

Not it's really about to smell aromatic and delicious!
Add apples; sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. 

Oh yum! I love fresh sage.
Mix in sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; transfer to large bowl. 
Let stand until almost cool, about 10 minutes.

Mix cornbread into vegetables. 

Add egg and toss to blend. 
Mix in cheese (optional), then enough apple cider by tablespoonfuls 
to form stuffing that is moist but not wet.

Cornish game hens:
4 Cornish game hens, rinsed & patted dry
1 T chopped sage
2 t salt
1 t pepper
1 T olive oil
4 bacon slices, each halved crosswise

Sprinkle cavity of each hen lightly with salt and pepper. 

Pack 1 cup stuffing into each 
(place any leftover stuffing into buttered ramekins and cover with foil). 

Skewer cavities closed with toothpicks or turkey lacers. 

Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together to hold shape. 
Mix sage, coarse salt, and pepper in small bowl; sprinkle over hens.

Preheat oven to 400°F. 
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. 
Place 2 hens in skillet. 
Sauté until brown, turning often with wooden spoons 
(to prevent tearing skin), about 10 minutes. 
Transfer to rimmed baking sheet, breast side up. 
Place hens in a soaked clay pot. Do not preheat the oven.

Repeat with remaining hens. 
Drape 2 bacon strip halves over breast of each hen. 
If desired, use kitchen string to tie bacon strips in place. 

(Place any ramekins of stuffing on baking sheet with hens.)

Place hens (and extra stuffing) in oven. 
If using a clay pot, only start the cold oven after you have the pot inside the oven.

Roast hens until cooked through and juices run clear when thigh is pierced, about 45 minutes. on baking sheet OR bake approx 60 min in a clay pot after it reaches 400 degrees then remove lid and bake another 10-20 minutes to brown the tops. 
Only roast stuffing 30 minutes.

If used, cut off string.
Transfer hens to plates. 


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