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Chorizo-stuffed game hen with prickly pear barbecue sauce

Chorizo-stuffed game hen with prickly pear barbecue sauce

Here is a truly Southwestern meal you can serve for a holiday, or make for guests any week of the year.

This recipe fills little game hens with a stuffing made mainly with Mexican-style chorizo (a seasoned pork sausage), and they’re topped off with a tangy prickly pear barbecue sauce. Prickly pears are the little red fruits from a cactus, and are native to the Americas.

Chorizo-stuffed game hen with prickly pear barbecue sauce

Yield 6


For the sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup yellow onion, diced

1/2 tablespoon garlic, chopped

1 habanero pepper, sliced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon Mexican oregano

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cups prickly pear puree (available in specialty food stores)

1 cup veal stock

1 cup sugar

For the chorizo stuffing

2 pounds Mexican-style chorizo

2 cups breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon lime juice

For the game hens

6 game hens, semi-boneless (can substitute quail)


For the sauce

Heat oil in a sauce pot over medium heat and gently cook the onion until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, habanero, cumin and oregano. Continue to cook gently until the spices release their aroma.

Add the vinegar and cook until the mixture reduces by two-thirds. Add the prickly pear puree, veal stock and sugar. Cook until the mixture reduces by half.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree on medium speed. Cool and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

For the chorizo stuffing

In a large saute pan or skillet, brown and render the chorizo until fully cooked. Fold in the remaining ingredients; cool and set aside.

For the game hens

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide the stuffing among the game hens, stuffing the cavities evenly. Put about 3/4 cup prickly pear sauce in a small bowl and evenly brush each stuffed hen with it. (Reserve the remaining sauce for serving.) Roast the stuffed and sauced game hens for 12 minutes, or until the sauce is sticky and caramelized. Serve with the reserved sauce on the side.


Nutrition information per serving: 1,341 calories, 75 g fat, 351 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 73 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 2,540 mg sodium, 51 percent calories from fat.

Recipe from Matt Taylor of Gertrude’s, Special for The Arizona Republic

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