Spatchcocked poussin

Spatchcocked poussin
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Hands-on time 40 min, oven time 20-25 min, plus marinating

Break with picnic tradition with this poussin recipe, pepped up with spices and served with a preserved lemon and mint mayonnaise.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
536kcals
Fat
31.5g (5.3g saturated)
Protein
63.3g
Carbohydrates
2.3g (0.6g sugars)
Fibre
0.2g
Salt
0.5g
Calories
536kcals
Fat
31.5g (5.3g saturated)
Protein
63.3g
Carbohydrates
2.3g (0.6g sugars)
Fibre
0.2g
Salt
0.5g

Ingredients

  • 4 poussins (500g each; see tip)
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 4 pinches ground cayenne
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 100ml olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

For the mayonnaise

  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 350-400ml olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 small (or 1 large) preserved lemons
  • 3 handfuls fresh mint leaves

Method

  1. To spatchcock the poussins, put a bird breast-down on a board and use a heavy knife or kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone (discard it). Turn breast- up, opening it out and pressing it flat with your hands. Loosen the skin over the breasts by carefully working your fingers underneath, then slash each drumstick twice with a sharp knife. Repeat with all the poussins.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the dry spices, garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil and coriander leaves to a paste. Smear some under the skin of each bird, then rub the rest all over the outsides. Chill, covered, for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
  3. Heat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Heat a heavy frying pan or griddle pan on the hob until fiercely hot. Season the birds generously all over with salt, then cook in the pan/ griddle, in batches, for 2 minutes on each side or until well coloured. Put the browned birds in a roasting tin. Once they’re all browned, transfer the tin to the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer, if the juices are mostly clear, the poussins are cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  4. For the mayonnaise, beat the yolks in a bowl with the mustard, then start to whisk in the olive oil, a drop at a time. Once it starts emulsifying, you can trickle it in faster. When half the oil has been added, whisk in the lemon juice, then continue whisking in the oil until it’s thick enough to dollop, you may not need it all. Quarter the preserved lemons, then scrape out and discard the pips and pulp. Chop the peel as finely as possible. Finely chop the mint. Beat the lemons and mint into the mayonnaise, then season with salt and pepper, tasting as you go (you’ll need at least ½ tsp salt). Chill in the fridge, then pack in a cool bag.
  5.  On the picnic, pick up a poussin, tear off pieces and dunk them into the mayonnaise as you eat. Don’t forget to hand out napkins.

delicious. tips

  1. Please note: contains raw egg

    You can use quail instead of poussins, roast for 15-20 minutes. Or roast a whole free-range chicken to shred at the picnic.

    The poussins are good warm, too.

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