Kitchen Table: Rice and Barley Stuffing for Cornish Hens

Stuffs 4 average Cornish hens

• 1/2 cup rice
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 1/4-2 1/2 cups water
• 2 chicken broth cubes
• 1/3 cup barley
• 6-8 ounces fresh cranberries, with a little sugar to sweeten, or use berries from a 16-ounce can whole cranberry sauce with gel rinsed off
• 2 heaping teaspoons bitter orange marmalade, or 1 teaspoon marmalade and 1 teaspoon diced orange peel
• 2 tablespoons orange juice
• 1/3 cup raisins
• 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
• 2 teaspoons tarragon
• 1/2 teaspoon sweet marjoram
• 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
• Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the rice in the butter, then add 11/4 to 11/2 cups water and 1 chicken cube; cook until soft.

Cook barley in 1 cup water and second chicken cube for 45 minutes, or until tender .

If using fresh cranberries, cook briefly with a little sugar to soften somewhat and create a little juice.

Mix the remaining ingredients with the cooked rice and barley. Stuff the Cornish hens and cook according to instructions on the package. I like to brush the stuffed birds with melted butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, crushed basil, and tarragon.

The stuffing may be frozen for ­future use.

Variation: Substitute sliced mushrooms for the raisins.

–Elke Amenda-Spirakis, Warwick, New York

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