Roasted Stuffed Guinea Hens
Originally the guinea hens were stuffed with coarsely chopped Toulouse pork sausage when prepared in France. But in the U.S., we recommend using fresh, unseasoned pork sausage.
2 2-1/2-lb. guinea hens
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 lb. pork sausages, cut into large pieces
1 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
6 slices bacon
1. Preheat oven to 450°. Rinse guinea hens, then pat dry with paper towels. Rub skins with 2 tbsp. oil and season hens, inside and out, with salt and pepper.
2. Heat remaining 2 tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, about 20 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add sausage, and brown, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Stir in sage and rosemary, season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.
3. Spoon stuffing into hens. Place 3 slices of bacon over each hen's breast, then truss, securing bacon in place with kitchen string. Place hens on their sides in a medium roasting pan. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn hens onto their other sides. Cook for 10 minutes more, then reduce heat to 325°. Turn hens breast side up and continue cooking until skin is golden and thigh juices run clear, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5–10 minutes before carving and serving.
Variation—A 4-lb. chicken can be used in place of guinea hens. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare chicken as in step 1, above. Cook sausage mixture as in step 2, then stuff chicken, cover breast with bacon, and truss as in step 3. Place chicken in a roasting pan and cook, basting occasionally with pan juices, for 1–1 1/2 hours. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.