Kumquat-Glazed Cornish Game Hens with Bacon

  • Serves

    serves 4


More single-serving-sized than chickens, these tender game hens get a sweet and smoky glaze of softened kumquats and chunks of bacon.


  • 4 (1 1/2-lb.) Cornish game hens
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 sprigs rosemary
  • 16 sprigs thyme
  • Butchers' string, for tying
  • 8 oz. slab bacon, cut into 1" pieces, about 1/2" thick
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed
  • 3 small red onions, cut into 1" wedges
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 8 oz. kumquats, sliced 1/4 thick and seeded
  • 14 cup honey
  • 12 tsp. paprika


Step 1

Heat oven to 475°. Season cavities and outsides of hens with salt and pepper; stuff rosemary and thyme into cavities and tie legs together using butchers' string. Heat bacon and 1 tbsp. butter in a 12" skillet over medium; cook until bacon is slightly crisp, 18–20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a roasting pan. Add garlic, onions, salt, and pepper to skillet and toss in fat; add to roasting pan. Add oil to skillet and, working in batches, cook hens, turning as needed, until browned, 10–12 minutes; set hens breast-side up in roasting pan. Add shallot to skillet; cook until soft, 3–4 minutes. Add juice; cook until slightly reduced, 3–4 minutes. Stir in kumquats, honey, paprika, salt, and pepper; simmer until thickened, 12–15 minutes. Stir in remaining butter. Brush half the sauce over hens; keep remaining sauce warm. Roast hens, basting often with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°, about 45 minutes. Transfer hens, bacon, garlic, and onions to a serving platter; spoon remaining sauce over the top.

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