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- 1 1/2 pounds diced peeled squash such as kury, butternut or pumpkin
- EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 1 1/2-pound hens, slit lengthwise (your butcher can do this for you or you can do with a very sharp knife)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel or ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 to 4 small ribs celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 apples, peeled and diced, such as Macoun or Northern Spies
- 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 4 slices lightly toasted whole wheat bread, chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
Heat oven to 450F.
Arrange squash on baking sheet and dress with a liberal drizzle of EVOO. Season with salt, pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Roast 25-30 minutes, until very tender and brown at edges, turning once.
Pat hens dry and arrange on baking sheet with rim. Combine thyme, zest, fennel or coriander and paprika. Drizzle hens with oil and season with salt, pepper and spice blend. Roast 35 minutes or until juices run clear.
Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery, onions, apples, then season with salt and pepper. Cook 6-7 minutes and add cranberries, cider and 1 cup chicken stock. Simmer 5 minutes more then combine with bread and turn off heat. Gently combine roast squash with stuffing. Stuffing should be slightly moist but not gummy, add a little extra stock of necessary. Turn off heat.
In small sauce pot melt remaining butter and whisk in flour. Cook 1 minute then whisk in stock, salt, pepper, marmalade and Worcestershire. Add any pan drippings from hens.
Serve hens with large portion of squash-stuffing and gravy on top.