Payne’s Pantry: Small Thanksgiving meal: Cornish Game Hens with Apple Raisin Rice Dressing

Published 8:19 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

By Anne Payne

If you have a small family of just 2, 3, or 4 (even 1), you might consider making Cornish Game Hens for Thanksgiving.  They come frozen in packs of two at most

grocery stores.  You count on one hen per person since they are rather small.  When my husband and I were first married, we made Cornish Game Hens for just us, and the next year we cooked them for my parents and ourselves.  They are easy!


I also found a special dressing or stuffing (depending upon what section of the country in which you were reared).  I simply call it Apple Raisin Rice Dressing.  Here are the ingredients and cooking methods for all:


Ingredients to serve four persons (Change number of hens to number of people eating.)


For hens:

Deep pan with baking rack to allow hens to drain fat


Cooking spray

4 frozen Cornish Game Hens (packaged two together)





Defrost hens thoroughly.  Remove giblets, etc. from cavity if any there.  Throw away or set aside for later.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees before beginning hen preparation.  Spray pan and rack with cooking spray.  Rub hens all over with soft butter, salt, and butter to taste.  Set hens on rack inside baking pan.  Cover the small tips of wings and legs with foil to prevent burning or overcooking.  Bake 4 hens @1 hour, as long as they are thawed completely.  If partially frozen, baking time must be increased.


For Apple Raisin Rice Dressing:

1 pkg. Uncle Ben’s Quick Cooking Wild Rice (or type of rice, such as white or brown, preferred)



1/3 cup parsley flakes or finely chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbsp sage

1 Tbsp rosemary

1 Tbsp thyme

3/4 cup raisins

1 sml pkg thinly sliced almonds

1 sml can drained Mandarin oranges (optional)

1 large peeled, cored, and thinly sliced Red Delicious Apple

1 sml can low sodium chicken broth


Make Uncle Ben’s Quick Cooking Wild Rice (or other type) according to package directions with herbal mix in box, water, and butter.  Remove from heat when done to cool.  Allow to set about 10 minutes.  Rice should be mixed with parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, raisins, and almonds.  Add drained Mandarin oranges as an option.  Mix together well with large spoon.  Add a little of chicken broth as needed so rice dressing not dry but moist.  If desired, place 2 Tbsp Rice Dressing mixture in cavity of each hen.  If not desired, place all of dressing in a covered casserole dish.  Cover with thinly sliced apples.   Microwave covered on high about 3-4 minutes.


Serve Cornish Game Hens with Apple Raisin Rice Dressing and enjoy a mini Thanksgiving dinner without all the fuss and mess.


Nice accompaniments might be buttered Brussels sprouts, steamed broccoli, or brown-sugared and buttered sliced carrots.