10 December 2014

Emily Gilmore’s Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

EDITOR’S NOTE: The recent debut of Gilmore Girls on Netflix has led to a gratifying resurgence of interest in the hit television series (2000–07). With the holiday entertaining season upon us, we decided to ask the Gilmore matriarch, Emily, to share one of her favorite recipes.

Perfect for intimate dinner parties, my D.A.R.-approved recipe for stuffed Cornish game hens has been handed down from generation to generation. In fact, according to family tradition, my great-great-great — well, my many-greats-grandmother prepared this recipe for the crew of the Mayflower on the trip back to England, after she discovered just how hard it was to find good help in colonial Massachusetts.

Today, in our lovely home in Hartford, Richard and I enjoy serving stuffed Cornish game hens to all of our guests (excepting Tweenie Halpern, who’s a bore, and Pennilyn Lott, who’s a tramp — those two are no longer welcome at my table). I think you’ll find this recipe is as easy to follow as it is delicious to eat!

Special appearance by Emily’s husband, Richard Gilmore.

1. Tell Louisa, your new maid, to ask the butcher for four exceptionally fine Cornish game hens.
2. In the kitchen, tell Louisa to flame the hens.
3. Fire Louisa.
4. Tell your new maid, Consuela, to sautée one small onion and two ribs of celery.
5. Fire Consuela. Anyone who doesn’t know to chop the onion and celery before sautéeing them has no business in a kitchen.
6. Tell your new maid, Gudrun, to mix together wild rice, ten ounces of chicken stock, and one cup of finely chopped mushrooms. I think there are some kind of herbs in there, too.
7. Well, of course you cook the rice first. You’re making a stuffed hen, not a baby’s rattle.
8. Fire Gudrun.
9. While waiting for the agency to send over a new maid, check the other preparations for your dinner party. Those candlesticks should be precisely six inches apart.
10. Tell your new maid, Esmeralda, to sprinkle the hens with salt and pepper, both outside and inside each bird.
11. Not that much salt! Are you out of your mind? Richard has a heart condition!
12. Fire Esmeralda.
13. Tell your new maid, Diane, to stuff the hens with the rice mixture, then place them on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Cover the pan with foil, then let it bake for 40 minutes in the oven, preheated to 350 degrees.
14. Fire Diane. Don’t listen to her when she says it’s not her fault the oven wasn’t preheated, because she only just got here. Surely she didn’t expect you to turn on the oven!
15. Tell your new maid, Genevieve, to remove the foil from the pan, baste the hens with melted butter, and allow them to bake, uncovered, for another 25 to 35 minutes.
16. The remaining cooking time will give you the opportunity to greet your guests and to serve cocktails.
17. Pair the hens with a crisp white Burgundy, nicely chilled but not too cold, and serve with fresh asparagus and a tossed green salad.
18. Fire Genevieve.

We Gilmores enjoy nothing more than a good meal and stimulating conversation.

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