• 2 Cornish hens, split down the center
• Freshly ground pepper to taste
• 8 slices bacon
Apricot, Port, and Balsamic Sauce
• 4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
• 1/2 cup port
• 1 cup dry red wine
• 2/3 cup (4 ounces) dried apricots, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the Cornish hen halves in an ovenproof baking pan, skin side up. Sprinkle with pepper and cover with the bacon slices. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and bake for 15 minutes, or until the skin is crisp. Remove from the oven and discard the bacon.
To make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, bring the stock or broth to a boil over medium heat, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until reduced to about 1 cup. In another saucepan, combine the port and red wine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until reduced to about 1/2 cup.
Pour the reduced stock or broth into the reduced wine. Stir in the apricots and vinegar. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced by one-third and is thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, place a Cornish hen half in the center of each serving plate and spoon the sauce over the top. Serves 4.