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8 cornish game hens (2 for each person)
3/4 cup butter
6 sprigs fresh thyme, 3-4" each
2 large lemons
salt and pepper

for the gravy:

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoon flour
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all-fruit raspberry preserves, black or red
pinch of salt and black pepper

for the garnish:

1/2 cup fresh or frozen whole raspberries, thawed
3 teaspoons chopped chives

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Rinse hens under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

3. Rub hens with butter; salt and pepper the skin and cavity lightly.

4. Slice lemons roughly 1/2 inch thick, divide evenly among hens, and place in each cavity, along with a sprig of thyme.

5. Bake 1 hour in a lightly buttered oven-proof dish, basting every 10 to15 minutes.

6. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle with flour. Stir briskly with a whisk until butter browns and thickens, almost allowing it to scorch (do not burn it).

7. Add chicken broth slowly, whisking constantly to form gravy. Watch for lumps and break them up if they form.

8. Add remaining gravy ingredients and simmer very lightly until it reaches the consistency of ketchup. If gravy is too thick, add more chicken broth one tablespoon at at time until the consistency is correct. Remove from heat and set at the back of the stove to keep warm.

9. When hens are cooked, arrange on individual plates and drizzle with raspberry gravy.

10. Sprinkle hens and plates with chives and whole raspberries and serve. .