Cornish hens, which are lower in fat than large roasting chickens and also a good choice for a smaller Thanksgiving meal. They make an easy and elegant dish for company.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the hens inside and out and pat them dry. Remove all visible fat from the cavity and season the inside with salt and pepper.
Soak the raisins in warm sherry for 10 minutes. In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the onion, celery, and sage. Sauté until tender, then add the nutmeg, salt, rice, and pine nuts. Toss lightly and add the raisins with the sherry. (The stuffing should hold together; if not, add a little water or wine.)
Loosely stuff each hen with the rice dressing, and secure the cavity with a skewer or tie the legs together with cooking twine. (Extra dressing may be warmed in a greased casserole for 20 to 25 minutes before serving.) Place the hens breast side up in a greased, shallow roasting pan and put it into the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 350°F. Roast uncovered for 1 hour, or until the hens are well browned and the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a fork. To serve, cut the hens in half lengthwise and place each half stuffing side down. Garnish with fresh herbs.
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