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Three Top Chefs Share Their Holiday Recipes

Our culinary stars make traditional dishes healthier -- plus share ideas on bringing new foods to the holiday table.

Cat Cora: Changing Things Up continued...

4. Pat the game hens dry with a paper towel. (If they have been frozen, be sure they are completely thawed, with gizzards removed.) Loosely fill each cavity with stuffing, leaving a little space in each bird to allow the rice to expand during roasting. Secure the legs, wings, and opening of each hen by trussing with cotton string. Spoon leftover stuffing into a small casserole dish with lid.  During the last 25 minutes of roasting the hens, slide the casserole into the oven to heat.

5. Place hens breast-side down on a rack set in a roasting pan. Place pan on the center rack of a preheated oven, and allow the hens to cook for 15 minutes before basting with the pomegranate juice (or with pomegranate-balsamic reduction option at the end of this recipe).

6. Baste again 15 minutes later, turning birds breast side up after 40 minutes of roasting. Continue basting with the remaining pomegranate juice until the hens are dark golden brown and the juices run clear when the hens are pierced at the thigh. Total cooking time will be about 50 to 55 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone, should register 175º to 180º.

7. Remove the birds from the oven, and transfer them to a platter. Cover them with foil and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

8. Place the roasting pan with the juices on the stovetop over medium-low heat, add about ½ cup of the chicken stock (or water), and scrape up any roasted bits from the bottom of the pan. Sift the flour into the cooking juices and mix well. Slowly whisk in another 1½ cups of stock (or water) and stir well, and let simmer until the mixture is thick and has no lumps, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add a few more teaspoons of water or white wine if you'd like the gravy to be thinner. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

9. To serve, cut each bird in half lengthwise. Pool a little gravy on each plate, place a half bird on top of each gravy-pooled plate, and garnish with finely chopped parsley. Serve with a little extra rice stuffing on the side, if desired.

Makes 8 servings

Per serving: 526 calories, 35 g protein, 40 g carbohydrate, 24 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 170 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 5 g sugar, and 316 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 41%.

For a more flavorful glaze, you can use a reduction of pomegranate-balsamic rather than straight pomegranate juice.

1. Combine equal parts pomegranate juice and balsamic vinegar (use a good balsamic but not your most expensive bottle).

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