Cat Cora: Changing Things Up continued...
1. Rinse the rice in cool water, drain the water, and add the rice to a 2-quart saucepan with lid. Add 3 cups cold water and dash of salt. Bring the rice to a boil and stir once. Immediately reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot. Cook over low heat for 45 to 55 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated.
2. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
3. While the rice is cooking, remove the chestnuts from the jar or can, chop them roughly, and spread them on a baking sheet. Toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes to remove some of their moisture. When the chestnuts are done roasting, turn up the oven to 375º. In a large bowl, mix the cooked wild rice, toasted chestnuts, chopped onion, and herbs.
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.