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Fig-and-Balsamic-Glazed Cornish Hens

Hands-on time 20 mins
Total time 1 hr, 40 mins
Yield Makes 8 servings
Fig-and-Balsamic-Glazed Cornish Hens bring a bit of sophistication to the dinner table--perfect for party guests. A fig preserve mixture serves as a baste and then is mixed with red wine for a serving sauce.


  • 1 (11.5-oz.) jar fig preserves
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons country-style Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 4 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-lb.) Cornish hens
  • Kitchen string
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Reserve half of fig mixture; cover and chill. Let remaining fig mixture stand at room temperature.

  2. Rinse hens with cold water, and pat dry. Place hens, breast sides down, on a cutting board. Cut hens through backbone using kitchen shears to make 2 halves.

  3. Place hens on an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan or in a shallow roasting pan, and sprinkle with salt.

  4. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Brush hens generously with room-temperature fig mixture. Reduce oven temperature to 400°. Bake hens 45 minutes or until leg meat is no longer pink, basting with fig mixture every 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

  5. Place reserved chilled fig mixture in a small saucepan; stir in red wine, and cook over low heat, stirring often, 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve hens with sauce.

  6. Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed through Step Cover and chill up to 8 hours. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before proceeding with Steps 4 and