Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta #SundaySupper

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Libational Recipes, a fun one indeed. Who doesn’t love cooking with an alcoholic beverage of some sort? I certainly do.

So in choosing which recipe to feature today, I wanted to keep with the December-appropriate theme I’m doing all month long, so today I’m posting a dish appropriate for a small but elegant Christmas dinner gathering, or perhaps a small holiday dinner party. Game hens are so adorable, and I think it looks so lovely and fancy to give everyone their own little baby chicken on their plate.

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Then the adorable game hens swim in this velvety, luscious, rich red wine sauce with savory sausage and sweet red grapes for the whole sweet-salty yin-yang thing we all love. All atop a mound of creamy, cheesy polenta. It’s really a beautiful dish. One I hope you all enjoy!

Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta

Source: slightly adapted from Tyler’s Ultimate by Tyler Florence

{One Year Ago: Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Cream Cheese Glaze}


4 (1-1 ½ lb.) Cornish game hens
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

Olive oil
½ lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups halved red seedless grapes
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

5 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups instant polenta
¼ cup heavy cream
1 ½ tbs unsalted butter
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Season the outside and cavities of the game hens with salt and pepper. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs together, then tie the wings flat against the body. Dot the butter all over the game hens, then carefully transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Roast about 45 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of one breast registers 165 F.
Start the sauce as soon as you get the birds into the oven. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then crumble in the sausage. Cook until no traces of pink remain. Dust the flour over the sausage and stir to combine. Add the wine and stir quickly to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Then stir in the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and keep it at a simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is thick and velvety. Add in the grapes right before you’re ready to serve. If the grapes make the sauce too thin, boil it on high heat, stirring frequently, for a few minutes to thicken it up.
Make the polenta: bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large stockpot. Sprinkle in the polenta and whisk quickly to combine and make sure there are no lumps. It will thicken up in minutes. As soon as it thickens, turn the heat to low. Add in the cream, butter, cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, cut the strings off the game hens. Mound a few spoonfuls of polenta onto 4 dinner plates. Rest a bird on top of each, then generously spoon the sauce over the birds. Garnish with parsley if desired.


Savory and Sweet Libational Dishes

Libational Desserts

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44 responses to “Cornish Game Hens with Sausage Red Wine Sauce over Polenta #SundaySupper

  1. I could eat this for days! Love everything about it. Everything.

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  11. Oh wow! This looks divine!

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  14. What a spectacular meal for the holidays. Truly scrumptious with the red wine sauce!

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  18. I have not had a Cornish Game Hen for years, this looks so good!! We used to have them all the time!!

  19. I love this served on a polenta bed. Yum!

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  21. What a wonderful dish for the holidays!

  22. Soooo elegant, you’re totally on the spot with this one. Cornish game hens sound like such a fancy but lovely dish!

  23. my kids think game hens are just the cutest thing on earth and they enjoy eating them LOL! 🙂

  24. Dear Julie, I just had a vision: The NY Times Food Section headline reads: The Texan New Yorker opens on Manhattan’s East Side to rave reviews… You are truly a gourmet! P.s. Your polenta makes me want to give the dish a second try =)

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  26. It’s been years since I had game hens. I love that you served it with Polenta.

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  28. Love cornish game hens! These look amazing!

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  30. So many people say hen is too fiddly, but it’s delicious!

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