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Mini Thanksgiving

Mini ThanksgivingEXPAND
photos by Liana Lopez

If you don't have to entertain an entire family for Thanksgiving dinner this year but still want to have a feast, here's the recipe for you. This is all you need to make a mini-Thanksgiving dinner for up to four folks.

Okay, our recipe is not exactly turkey but it is poultry, it's stuffed and it's tasty. Not to mention, it won't take all day to make, and you can avoid that tryptophan trip to la la land afterwards.

Instead of the typical 10 - 15 pound turkey, here's our quick and easy 2 - 3 pound version -- stuffing and all.

Mini Thanksgiving Bird and Stuffing

What you'll need for the bird:

  • 2 Cornish hens
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 40 skinned garlic cloves (4 - 5 bulbs)
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper and butter (of course!)

For the stuffing:

  • 1 bunch green onions chopped
  • ½ bell pepper chopped
  • 4 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 cup cornbread stuffing
  • 5 slices of "not too soft" toasted bread in small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Butter (of course!)

Make the stuffing first. You'll need it to stuff the hens before you stick those lovely birds in your oven. Speaking of the oven, preheat that sucker to 450 degrees. 

Mix 1 cup cornbread stuffing and toasted bread together in a large bowl. Bring to boil 2 cups chicken broth, poultry seasoning, ½ cup celery and ¼ cup green onions, then let simmer while you sauté the rest of the green onions, celery and bell pepper in butter.

Slowly mix in sautéed vegetables into bread mix. Finally, slowly mix in 1 cup of the broth to get bread moist but not mushy. Add more bread if you mess up and it gets too mushy.

Now to prepare the birds. Give the outside of the hens an olive oil rub down. Yeah baby....an official Thanksgiving day oil massage even before you eat. Or you can butter up the hens instead if you prefer a more traditional taste. Don't forget to oil or butter the inside of the turkey, I mean hen, too!

Bring on the stuffing. They'll take about a cup of stuffing each. Put birds in a roasting pan and arrange garlic cloves around the hens. Lightly season the outside of the hens with lemon, salt and pepper and sprinkle rosemary on top.

Roast in oven for 25 minutes. Don't forget to change the setting from preheat to bake!

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and in a bowl mix wine, chicken broth and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pour over hens. Continue baking for about 25 minutes longer (or until golden brown) and baste with pan juices every 10 minutes.

Don't forget some traditional (or non-traditional) sides! Our suggestion is mashed potatoes. If you don't know how to make mashed potatoes, look for a recipe online or by the flakes in the box and just add water.

Coming up next week: Mini dessert.


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