It was my birthday on Friday! I love my birthday because my life gets better as I get older. I feel more comfortable and confident in who I am, I appreciate things more, and I feel like I have some big things figured out.
This is a beautiful dish to celebrate any special occasion, and a favorite for me on my birthday. Figs are one of my favorite fruits and September is the peak of their season. I used Black Mission Figs because they are sweet and I love their deep purple color, but you can use whichever variety of fig you enjoy.
The Cornish Hens at the store are typically sold whole, but the butcher will gladly cut them in half and remove the backbone for you. You’ll notice that this dish only takes an hour to prepare—that’s because you brown the hens in a little bacon grease and roast them at 500°. There isn’t a ton of meat on half a bird, but I served my guests half a hen each with a side of rice, green beans, and garden salad. With two meats in one dish, you don’t need a lot to feel satisfied. I highly recommend following through with the final step of deglazing the pan with lemon juice to make a quick sauce you can pour over the hens. The citrus in the lemon juice really brightens the dish.
And with that, a toast to another year of life!
Gourmet September 2009