4 Game hens
Salt, pepper to taste
4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbs Red wine vinegar
3 c Chicken stock
1/2 c Dry vermouth
2 White onions, coarsely chopped
2 Not-too-ripe Bosc pears, peeled, halved, cored
12 To 16 whole chestnuts (prepared, from ajar)
2 oz Bitter chocolate, grated
8 Triangles of fried bread (see note)
Raisins, chopped parsley for garnish
Season hens with salt and pepper. Heat a bit of oil in a large heavy pan and brown the birds in it on all sides. Add garlic to pan and stir until it takes on a pale color. Add vinegar, 2 cups of the stock, the vermouth and onions and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover tightly and cook gently until birds are very tender, about 1 hour.
Heat remaining cup of stock in a pan large enough to hold the pear halves. Add pears and poach until barely tender; remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add chestnuts to poaching liquid and simmer until heated through; remove and keep warm.
Remove birds to a heated serving platter or plates. Strain cooking liquid, return to heat and add grated chocolate, stirring until it is a good sauce consistency. Pour over birds and garnish with pears, chestnuts, the fried bread, a few raisins and some chopped parsley.
Note: To make fried bread, cut crusts from 4 slices of white bread, then cut slices diagonally to make 8 triangles. Fry quickly in a little hot oil until golden on both sides. Drain and keep warm.