Figgy Piggy Cornish Hens

Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Yields: 6 Servings

This is one of those fun dishes that are inexpensive to prepare, yet with the addition of figs and applewood-smoked bacon, it becomes quite an elegant entree. Additionally, there is just something about the sweetness of the figs with the saltiness of the bacon. You will see what I mean after preparing this dish. Try serving it with rice dressing and dirty rice.


3 Cornish (1 and 1/4-pound) hens, halved lengthwise
6 fresh black or green figs, halved
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
salt and black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
6 sprigs thyme
6 sprigs tarragon
6 sprigs sage
3 tbsps fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. In a 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat to render fat. When bacon pieces are soft but not yet crispy, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Add olive oil to bacon drippings in skillet and saute sliced garlic 1-2 minutes or until wilted, stirring occasionally. Transfer garlic to paper towels with cooked bacon. Set aside. Pat Cornish hens dry with paper towels then season to taste using salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Heat bacon fat in skillet until it begins to smoke. Brown 3 hen halves, skin side down, about 6 minutes. Remove hens and place skin side up in sheet pan. Brown remaining hen halves then transfer to sheet pan. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix cooked bacon, garlic and fig halves. Place 1 sprig each of thyme, tarragon and sage under each hen half on sheet pan then stuff an equal portion of the bacon-fig mixture under hen skin. Deglaze skillet with lemon juice and simmer approximately 30 seconds, stirring and scraping up brown bits from the bottom of pan. Pour mixture over meat and roast on upper rack of oven until cooked through, approximately 20-25 minutes.