Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 1 hour
This meal takes some time, but is worth every second. Great meal to serve for a small thanksgiving, or any evening you want something filling and satisfying. I like the wild rice and sausage together gives a great, rich flavor.
Rinse the rice in a fine strainer. Combine the rice, water, and 1 C. chicken stock in a rice cooker, and turn on the rice cooker; this should take about 50 minutes to cook.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large stock pot, place the kosher salt. While rinsing the hens, reach your finger into the space in between the skin and flesh. Do your best to separate the flesh from the skin over the breast and thighs; this will produce a nice crispy skin when baking. Cover in water and place in the refrigerator until ready to stuff. This step is optional, but gives the hens a good salty flavor throughout rather than just on the skin.
In a large frying pan, over medium heat, melt the 3 T. butter. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft (about 15 minutes). Add the sausage and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the thyme, and saute until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. Remove from the heat, add the rice, and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the hens from the water, and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Stuff the cavity of the hens with the rice mixture, truss the legs, and place them in a baking pan. Brush the hens with the melted butter, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake an additional 40-45 minutes. Baste with 1/2 C. of the chicken stock every 15 minutes.
Remove the hens from the baking pan, and keep warm. Deglase the pan over medium low heat with the remaining chicken stock. Use a spoon to scrape up all the bits from the pan, and strain into a small sauce pan. Reduce by one half. Place the flour into a mug and add enough of the chicken stock to dissolve the flour. Mix into a fine slurry, and mix into the sauce pan slowly, stirring constantly. Allow the gravy to come to a full boil then reduce the heat and cook until is the desired consistency. Add more stock or water if the gravy becomes too thick. Place the gravy in a container and serve with the hens.