Trentino-Style Roasted Game Hen

Yield: 2 portions

Dried figs – 1/4 cup
Black grapes – 1/2 lb.
Chestnuts, roasted – peeled 1/2 cup
Walnuts, ground – toasted 1/2 cup
Sage, parsley, scallions, chopped – stems reserved 1/2 bunch each
Marsala wine – divided use 1 cup
Virgin olive oil – divided 1/4 cup and as needed
Whole – grain mustard 1 Tbsp.
Salt – pepper to taste
Nutmeg – to taste
Small game hens – 2
Large cloves garlic, peeled – slivered 4
Small sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded – diced 1
Lemon – 1
Rapini – 1 bunch
Chicken stock – as needed


  1. Mix figs, grapes, chestnuts, walnuts and 2/3 of chopped herbs and scallions. Add 1/2 cup marsala, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 Tbsp. mustard. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; set aside.
  2. Season cavity of hens with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stuff with fruit mixture; close hens and tie legs. Season outside of hens with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Place herb stems in baking dish and top with garlic. Place hens on top and rub with olive oil. Roast at 500F 10 to 15 minutes; reduce to 350F, basting hens every 10 minutes until done (about 35 minutes total cooking time).
  3. Toss pumpkin in baking dish with olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast in oven with hens or in separate pan for 30 minutes, until pumpkin is soft and brown at the edges.
  4. Saute rapini in olive oil, covering pan so rapini chars on edges and steams to dark green. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove hens from baking dish, pour off excess fat and deglaze pan with remaining 1/2 cup marsala, 1/2 Tbsp. mustard, remaining chopped herbs and some chicken stock. Let simmer 1 minute and serve with hens, pumpkin and rapini.