Sausage Stuffed Cornish Hens

French Friday’s with Dorie – Its a “Food Revolution!”

Sausage Stuffed Cornish Hens

Today is Food Revolution Day, a day started by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to encourage all manner of food people around the blogosphere to do something, to do anything, that gets kids interested in eating and cooking good food. As was done last year, the denizens of Doristaville have ditched their methodically planned seasonal calendar of “Around My French Table” recipes and instead allowed anarchy to reign supreme. This week Doristas can choose whichever recipe they want to — as long as some child is involved in its making.

Well this is all said and good except for one thing: I don’t have any children. I really don’t even like children. OK, this isn’t exactly true. I just don’t like your children. Oh before you get all upset please remember that I don’t really even know your children so I’m speaking in very general of terms. Simmer down now, I’m sure your children are lovely. I’m just not a kid person. (Even though I often act like one.)

The exception to this rule is when the children in question share some of my own genetic code — then I’m completely mad for them. Mad. For. Them. I can’t tell you why exactly this is but the whole phenomenon fascinates me to no end. It surely must have something to do with the human being’s evolutionary advantage as a species. Our innate drive to protect and nurture our own family’s genetic code so that it can survive  and thrive into future generations.

Your child’s genetic code is of no interest to me if you don’t mind

But when the little darling who carries MY genetic code is around me I go crazy. I can’t stop talking to her, Instagramming her, buying her toys she doesn’t need, letting her crawl on my back to play horsey, and of course, letting her boss me around whenever she feels like it.

“Read me three books now Uncle Trevor!”

“Um, ok.”

And just like that I comply without resistance. Its like she is magic or something. I grovel. I cajole. I roll around on the ground trying to make her laugh. Just this last weekend my niece announced to everyone that she wanted me to wipe her ass after she “made a poop in the potty.” Um, ok, and because I shared her pride in this accomplishment I didn’t even mind all that much. Weird, huh?

How fast do you think I’d leave the room if your kid ever asked me to do the same courtesy.

Sausage Stuffed Cornish Hens

Yeah, your screaming dirty kids usually just annoy me and make me feel awkward. I don’t want them touching me or asking me any questions. I don’t have much to say to them anyway and I usually end up feeling very awkward when I try…and I do try. I promise you I do. I will take what little confidence I have saved up from my successful niece encounters and do my best to draw on it when your kid is around me. It just never seems to work out. At least not well enough so that I would want one of your kids to cook a chicken with me.

Kids have an inborn ability to know who is there for them anyway so while your kids may annoy me, they are also smart enough to know all about the likes of me.

So when it came to celebrating Food Revolution Day this year I was caught without a kid of my own to celebrate it with. My own niece is just too young right now to be worrying too much about cooking things like gougeres. I suspect that any child who needs help wiping her ass is probably much too young to be making a Sausage Stuffed Cornish Hens anyway. Don’t you think?

And since my cat doesn’t count as my child (at least not in any way I’m prepared to admit publically right now)  and since she wasn’t blessed with an opposable thumb I was left alone in my kitchen on Food Revolution Day. Alone to think and contemplate how the heck I was going to celebrate Food Revolution Day without an actual child to inspire.

Sausage Stuffed Cornish Hens

I found a way. This year I’m checking in on Food Revolution Day by giving  thought to how nice it will be one day to invite my niece over and cook with her and teach her things I know about cooking and, more importantly, how it can bring people together. Yeah, I may have to bribe her by promising to bake cookies, cupcakes or caramel topped ice cream sundaes  — those things her parents won’t let her have at home — but eventually we’ll work our way toward making good, healthy things like these here sausage stuffed cornish hens.   I’ll even convince her to include the roasted Brussels Sprouts.

I’m very sure of it.

You see, kids won’t learn about the satisfaction that cooking good food can bring unless we show it to them up close.  This means we have to invite them into the kitchen with us whenever we get the chance. This way they can share in the satisfaction we get and they can experience first hand how cooking with other people can be just as nourishing as the food itself.

One of the very first things my mother ever cooked with me was Cornish Hens.  No, not this recipe but another recipe just as  simple to put together.  Perhaps she knew a great way to get my interest would be to start off with hens that are curiously single-serving in size.

What are Cornish Hens anyway? Does anyone really know?  What does a cornish hen looks when it is alive? Is it even a thing?

I suppose I have a few years left to figure all of this out before I’m asked by my niece.  OK, and by her friend because I’m sure that in a few more years I’ll be much better with the whole kid thing and when my niece wants to invite your kid over to cook with us I’ll be be ok with kids by then.

Cooking is about bringing people together anyway, right?

Sausage Stuffed Cornish Hens

Sausage Stuffed Cornish Hens (with Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts)

This is what you will need:

  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts. Cleaned and root end trimmed if necessary.
  • 2 Cornish Hens, organic. (Remove giblets if lucky enough to get them! Save these for stock.)
  • 3 T Olive Oil
  • 2 T Unsalted Butter
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage, removed from casings if necessary.)
  • 1 slice stale bread (leave crusts on if you wish)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 T minced curly parsley
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is how you make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 and center a rack. Pour 1 T oil in an oven-ready skillet or roasting pan large enough to hold the two birds. (I used two cast iron skillets.)
  2. Put the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and add the olive oil and toss. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and stir around the pan for one minute until just starting to soften. Add the sausage and cook for 2 minutes using a spatula to break up the sausage into small pieces as it cooks.
  4. Remove sausage from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the bread pieces, beaten egg, parsley and season with salt and pepper. (Stuffing can be made one day in advance and stored in an airtight container until ready to use.)
  5. Salt and pepper the birds and spoon the stuffing into their cavities being careful not to make them too tight. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine if you wish. Rub the hens lightly with a teaspoon of olive oil or a pat of room temperature butter and then season generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Put the birds into the skillet or roasting pan and add the Brussels sprouts around each bird.
  7. Roast the birds for 40 minutes or until the juices run clear when you pierce with a sharp knife at the leg joint.
  8. After 30 minutes check on the Brussels sprouts for doneness. If they poke through easily with a toothpick they are done. You can either remove them to a bowl covered with foil to wait for the bird or you can do what I do and give them a stir and let them continue to cook until they are dark and caramelized.
  9. When the hens are done remove them from the oven. If the Brussels sprouts are still in the pan remove them as well. Cover the birds with foil.
  10. Pour off the fat from the skillets and put the pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot and what little fat is left starts to bubble add the wine and let it cook down by one half. Remove the pan and add 1 tablespoon of butter.
  11. You may serve the hens whole if they are small for two servings or split them in half with a very sharp kitchen knife. Serve on plates with the Brussels sprouts and pour a spoonful of the pan sauce over everything.


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. I love this! And I think it’s perfectly normal to not like other peoples kids. My husband and I never wanted kids before we got married.. Then we decided we generally didn’t like the population at all and decided to make our own. And ours are so cool. Our people are quirky and smart and funny and odd, just like we are. We adore them. I am much better with other peoples kids than I used to be, just from exposure. And I’m sure you will be, too. Liam calls these ‘tiny chickens’ and that’s fine by me. We love them. And you are correct, no idea what they look like alive!!!

  2. Great post, Trevor! Childless me is right there with you, re: other people’s children, except my nieces and nephews of course. I adore them. Mine are teenagers now, so we can do fun things together, like cook, which we do when we’re together. Living hundreds of miles away from them, the stars didn’t align to share the joy of cooking together for Food Revolution Day.

  3. Trevor!!

    Love love this post, and your sausage stuff cornish hens! I am never failed to be entertained whenever I drop by for a visit! Thank you for your approval and encouraging comment at my post!

    Have had the opportunity of bonding with both my two girls (who are now approaching their 30s!) in the kitchen when we were able to, and am looking forward to some cooking episodes with my two year old grandaughter when she is able (cookies come to mind!) in another year or two.

  4. Egad, you write well. Once I got past looking at your absolutely gorgeous opening photo of the cornish hen/brussels sprouts, I read your Post three times. I always caught something new in it each time I re-read it. I happen to like kids – my own and other peoples. I don’t like brats. But, otherwise, give me a kid over an adult any day of the week. Plus, I’ve never met a kid who couldn’t help me with my computer needs. Kids today are born with computer DNA, did you know that? Have loved the photos you’ve posted of your niece. And, good for you for taking such an interest in her and giving her so much love.

  5. I am new to your blog and I really enjoyed this post. = ) The cornish hens look amazing! Looking forward to following along and seeing what’s next!

  6. Trevor, we didn’t ask you to cook WITH kids this year (although I am sure you would have fun – you should come and guest chef with my cooking club sometime!) – we simply asked what recipe you think every child should know how to make from AMFT! So no panic that no kids were involved! That said, I think Cornish Hens are the PERFECT intro to one of my BUG “must make” dishes – roast chicken. So much more do-able for little hands in the kitchen. Beautiful photos and lovely post!

  7. that would be “BIG” must-make dishes…. (not enough coffee and a long day yesterday has fried my brain!)

  8. As always, a delight! Bar and I are childless and loving it, but get us around our nieces and nephews or God forbid, our brand new GREAT- niece, and well, we are putty in their hands.

    This dish is beautiful, and I too have always wondered just what exactly is a Cornish game hen, having never seen one in the flesh, er feathers…

  9. I thought cooking with children meant actually using them
    As an ingredient? But what do I know- I am a wicked witch.
    Your dish is gorgeous, really

  10. You always leave me smiling! Great fun post, Trevor! Truthfully, I have always loved kids…I enjoy their honesty and outspokenness!! Hang in there, by the time your niece brings some friends home you might actually enjoy them, too!
    Now on to the dish you made…incredibly delicious looking! And everyone should know how to roast a good chicken or game hen! Mary is right, your photos are gorgeous…magazine worthy!!

  11. Trevor I hear you about kids. I like 3 and 4 year olds,and then I skip to about 12 year olds, but in-between those ages I don’t get kids… I’m wondering if you were an odd kid like me. I didn’t get kids when I was a kid. But I like teenagers.. so that make me really strange.

    I never planned on having any kids either… but then hormones took over and it happened. I want to believe that my kids would be the exception to your not liking other peoples kids,.. but of course, that is because they are mine. Your niece is going to love cooking cornish hens with you some day… I’m absolutely certain of it.

  12. I didn’t have an available kid either – not even a cat. I agree, food is about bringing people together, and I think that any sane kid would love to eat this, even if they didn’t cook it.

  13. Trevor, I think I love your absolutely stunning dinner plate even better than your absolutely incredible writing skills and amazing photography and picture perfect presentation (now I really feel inadequate…).
    Your posts simply take my breath away!

  14. Diane Zwang says:

    Your post made me laugh. Like everyone said, great photos and great writing.

  15. HA! I’m with you. I love my own kid, but don’t really know what to say to other people’s. They never seem to know what the hell I’m talking about, which shouldn’t be so surprising, since they only have a few years worth of reference points, but it’s a lot easier when you helped form the reference points, because then everyone’s on the same page. I hope that you do cook these cornish hens with your niece one day!

  16. Your entire post cracked me up. Your niece is very lucky to have you. You sound like a great uncle. The cornish hens idea is a great one, I think children (everyone?) get excited for single-serving items.

  17. I’ve been thinking about your post for days – I read it when you published it. I can’t really add to the better-written comments, but I’m stunned by your photos, and your writing.

    I think your choice is fabulous, and one that any kid (of whatever age) would enjoy – and ought to know how to make! Well done!!!

  18. I love how you put it all out there! I was confused (a frequent state these days) since I knew I had spotted you with a little darling on your knee. But I can certainly understand how she won your heart. I have a feeling she’ll be happy to be your side kick in the kitchen one day.

  19. I like to watch little kids play but I’m not so eager to have them on my back or underfoot. I don’t know what a cornish hen is either but I’ll take anything filled with sausage stuffing. It looks fantastic.

  20. It’s amazing the power that nieces and nephews hold over our hearts, isn’t it? There’s nothing I like better than spending time with them and some of the happiest experiences I’ve had with my nieces have been in the kitchen. It’s nice to know you’ve got all that ahead of you.

  21. Though I love my children and everyone else does too, how could they not, and even you would, your secret’s safe with me, ya big softie. Yes, the DNA link is a strong one. It’s innate so it’s no good to analyze it. You do love children. Leave it at that.

  22. What happened to the rest of my comment???

  23. Oh my goodness, Trevor. You made me laugh out loud. Glad I found your blog! And the genetic connection is a strong one, isn’t it? These cornish hens look delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  24. It looks and Sounds Amazing. Thanks for Sharing this recipe! I will Cameback!