If you can't find dried apples for the stuffing, dried plums or cherries are good substitutes.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup finely minced yellow onion
- 1 cup homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
- 3/4 cup instant couscous
- 1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/4 cup chopped dried apples
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt; more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 Cornish game hens (about 11/2 pounds each), neck and giblets removed and discarded or saved for stock, hens rinsed and patted dry
- 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- Port-Spice Glaze or Orange-Spice Glaze
- Make the stuffing: In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until soft, 5 to 7 minutes; set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil; remove from the heat. Stir in the couscous, cover, and let sit off heat for 10 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Stir in the cooked onion, pistachios, cranberries, apricots, apples, cinnamon, ginger, parsley, salt, and pepper. Set-aside to cool completely.
- Stuff the hens: Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Season the cavity of each hen with salt and pepper. Make sure the stuffing is thoroughly cool and-pack each hen loosely with about 1/2 cup of stuffing. With kitchen twine, tie each hen's legs together. Tuck the wings underneath. Arrange the hens breast side up on a wire rack set in a shallow-roasting pan (or two) filled with 1/4-inch water (this will prevent the glaze drippings from smoking).
- Glaze and roast the hens: Brush the 2 tablespoons melted butter over the hens; season with salt and pepper. Roast the hens for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze, following the instructions at right. Brush the hens generously with the glaze and continue to roast, basting with more glaze every 10 minutes, until the juices run clear when you prick the thickest part of the thigh and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170 degrees F, another 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the hens to a platter, tent with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.