Fall for elegant figs with Cornish hens
In cookbooks and magazines, figs have been catching my eye lately.
Some have been drizzled with honey or oil and roasted. Others are stewed in a red wine and served as a dessert. I've even seen them made into compote and served as an appetizer on crusty baguette slices topped with Gorgonzola cheese.
Figs are a fruit that can exude a sense of elegance, especially when paired with savory ingredients.
Available fresh or dried, figs can be found in most stores. Most often, you'll find the Mission fig, which has purplish-black skin, and the Calimyrna, a California version of the Mediterranean Smyrna; it has light-green skin and white flesh. Both varieties have tiny, edible seeds and a plump pear shape.
Figs can be fussy because they are highly perishable and have a short shelf life. When you buy figs, keep them refrigerated and use them within a few days.
In today's recipe, the figs are treated simply: roasted with a drizzling of honey and a sprinkling of salt. They pair nicely with Cornish hens flavored with another fall favorite, pomegranate.
Cornish hens are small, young chickens. You'll find them, typically, sold frozen, wrapped individually and two to a package. Each bird weighs about 1 to 1¼ pounds. They cook quickly when butterflied.
To split the hen, turn it over so it is breast-side down. Using a good pair of kitchen shears, remove the backbone of the hen, cutting along each side of it. Then, cut the hen in half along the breastbone and flatten. Or, you can leave the bird whole.
During roasting, the Cornish hens are glazed with pomegranate molasses, a thick, syrupy and sweet reduction of pomegranate juice. You can buy pomegranate molasses in the ethnic aisle at some grocery stores. But it's just as easy to make your own (see recipe).
The reduction is a good match for Cornish hens and figs because it adds a sweet touch. Serve this dish with a quick saute of green beans and wild-rice blend.
Susan Selasky is a staff writer for the Detroit Free Press.
Cornish Hens with Pomegranate Glaze and Roasted Figs
Serve a salad garnished with pomegranate aerials along with a side of green beans and rice blend to make a complete meal.
From Melissa's Produce and www.californiafigs.com.
Preparation time: 1 hour
Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
For the hens:
4 Cornish hens, thawed if frozen, giblets removed for another use
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs (basil, Italian parsley, oregano)
1 teaspoon Morton's Nature's Seasons seasoning blend or kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 1⁄2 to 2 cups chicken broth
For the pomegranate glaze:
2 cups pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
For the figs:
1 1⁄2 packages (about 12 ounces) Mission or Calimyrna figs, cut in half
Honey or agave nectar
To prepare the Cornish hens: Remove the hens from the packaging and pat dry. If desired, cut out the back and butterfly them. Place on a sided baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan and refrigerate for at least one hour or longer to let the skin dry.
Remove the hens from the refrigerator at least one hour before roasting.
In a small bowl, mix the butter and herbs and set aside.
To make the pomegranate glaze: In a saucepan, combine the pomegranate juice, brown sugar and lemon juice. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced by half and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and set aside. It will continue to thicken.
To prepare the figs: Place the figs, cut side up, on a sided baking sheet and drizzle with honey; set aside.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the cavity and the outside of the Cornish hens with seasoning blend or salt and pepper. Tie the legs together. Arrange the hens on a sided baking sheet or rack set in a shallow roasting pan. Place a dollop of the herb butter on the breast of each hen. Pour 1 cup of the broth in the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Spoon some of the glaze on each one. Continue roasting, basting (add more broth to the pan, if needed) with the glaze every 15 minutes or so. Cook until the hens are browned and cooked throughout, for about 50 minutes to 1 hour total. Remove the hens from the oven and transfer to a platter. While the hens rest, place the figs in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes or until lightly caramelized. Arrange the roasted figs around the hens and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 502 calories, 21 grams fat (10 grams saturated), 266 milligrams cholesterol, 53 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 758 milligrams sodium
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Crosby’s 2 goals lift Penguins past Rangers, even series
- Sutter steps up for Penguins in series-tying victory
- Fights reported, shots fired outside Monroeville Mall restaurant
- Starkey: Taylor’s type fading away
- Penguins notebook: Johnston says Perron needs to shoot
- Transportation challenges rife as Pittsburgh focuses on making fixes
- Coming off hill revives Seton Hill University, downtown Greensburg
- Crosby says Edmonton would be good spot for prospective top pick McDavid
- Governor Wolf’s outreach to lawmakers contrasts with Corbett’s style