Saturday, July 30, 2011

Apricot-Plum Stuffing for Apricot-Honey Glazed Hens

Hen Drumstick and Thigh with Stuffing on Side
Apricot-Honey Glazed Hen with Apricot-Plum Stuffing

Recipe by Robin, inspired by Hawaii Kai Cookbook

Although you could choose to stuff something besides hens this, as I’d said in my Apricot Glazed Cornish Hens post, I wanted to create a stuffing for the hens with local California apricots, plums, and almonds. My first attempt was a success, largely due to some panko breadcrumbs that I happened to have on hand from a failed recipe. I’ve read that you can make your own panko crumbs by leaving a slice of white bread out overnight and crumbling it up the next day.
Since white breads can have numerous additives, I recommend checking the ingredients on both the packaged panko crumbs and the white bread before you decide which to use. Kikkoman’s Japanese panko crumbs have no preservatives, chemicals, or hydrogenated oils, and they work great in this recipe. Check your plum sauce for preservatives and chemicals too.

Stuffing in a Bowl with Ginger Spooned in
Adding Ginger to the Stuffing
The panko crumbs absorb the juices from the fresh apricots and plums. The grapes also absorb these juices, and plump up to taste like grapes. I’m not sure how well sticky raisins from a box would absorb liquid, so I recommend buying raisins in bulk. And do buy organic. Conventionally grown grapes are infamous for being loaded with toxic pesticides.

The recipe for both the Apricot Hens and the stuffing are based upon a tropical fruit and nut-based recipe in the Hawaii Kai Cookbook, a fun retro cookbook of Hawaiian-inspired recipes served at the Hawaii Kai restaurant in New York City in the 1960s. [Read my Goodreads review]. This recipe will make enough stuffing to fill 2 Cornish hens that weigh about 1 ½ lbs. each. The stuffing is so delicious (and the hens so tiny) that next time I will double the recipe, cut the hens in half, make little mounds of stuffing in the baking pan, and cover each mound with a half-hen. Naturally, this will affect the cooking time, so I’ll post an update after I experiment. I’ll probably also increase the ginger and hot oil.

I’d love to hear other ideas about what could be stuffed with this. Could it work in zucchini? Acorn squash?

Measuring Cup with Cut-Up Fruit in it
Good Quantity of Apricots and Plums
Apricot-Plum Stuffing
stuffs two 1 ½ lb. Cornish hens, serving 4 - 6

2 medium large apricots
2 medium large plums
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup green, golden, or white raisins
1 ½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 ½ tbsp. plum sauce
1/8 tsp. hot chili oil
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of salt
4 tbsp. panko breadcrumbs
(2 Cornish hens)
(salt and pepper)
(1 cup chicken or rich veggie stock)

Chop apricots and plums along including skin and liquid, and put into measuring cup. You will need between 2/3 – ¾ cup. Put into medium bowl. Stir in lemon juice (to keep color bright). Add chopped almonds, raisins, minced ginger, plum sauce, hot chili oil, cinnamon, salt, and ground ginger, and stir to combine. Add panko bread crumbs and stir till evenly mixed. Let sit while you prepare glaze, stirring once before you prepare the hens.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare glaze according to directions at Apricot-Honey Glazed Hens. (Stir stuffing.) Rinse Cornish hens and dry them inside and outside. Put hens in baking dish, breast-side-down, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir stuffing again and stuff hens. Apply glaze to tops of hens (see method at Apricot-Honey Glazed Hens).

Roast hens for 45 minutes, brushing/basting with glaze every 10 minutes.

Add broth to pan and stir around to incorporate browned bits. Roast another 30 – 40 minutes, brushing/basting with pan juices every 10 minutes, adding broth if pan juices are getting too brown. Check hens with meat thermometer to tell when they are done (poultry = 190 degrees F).

Remove hens and stuffing to platter. Serve with pan juices, or make gravy as in Apricot-Honey Glazed Hens.

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