Issue Date: August, 2011
Serves: Serves 8
Courtesy of: This recipe was originally published in the September 2009 issue of Gourmet.
Preheat oven to 500°F. Set rack in upper third of oven. Cook bacon in a 12-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, set over medium-low heat until crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving drippings in bottom of pan. Add garlic to skillet and cook, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to paper towels with bacon. Do not drain drippings from pan. Pat hens dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Add 4 hen halves and brown, skin side down, about 6 minutes. Transfer, skin side up, to a large 4-sided sheet pan. Brown remaining hens, transferring to sheet pan.
Set skillet aside but do not wash. Scatter thyme and figs over hens, then roast until hens are cooked through, about 15 minutes. While hens are cooking, return skillet to medium-high heat and deglaze with lemon juice, simmering, stirring and scraping up brown bits, for 30 seconds. Pour over roasted hens. Scatter reserved bacon and garlic over hens. Serve.