February 24, 2014 Leave your thoughts
Just admit it: this is the cutest, goofiest chicken you have ever seen in your entire life.
I mean, just look at it! It has a BACON. SASH. This is one classy bird, folks.
When I’m at the butcher, I’m always on the prowl for something new, something intimidating. I love to challenge myself with unfamiliar ingredients and go foraging through books and the internet in attempts to figure out how to cook them. You could call it a bit of an obsession of mine.
Crispy sweet breads. Pig tails. Goose. I’ve tried a lot of “unusual” cuts and animals over the course of the past year. While peeling the membranes off of the sweet breads was far from appealing and removing the entire breast from my goose had me groaning in frustration, almost all of my attempts have turned out deliciously. (Unfortunately, my mom is still a little squeamish about lamb kidneys. I’ll work on her. One day.)
Out of all of the oddies I’ve tried, poussin has to be one of my and my family’s favorites. It’s a rarity at the butcher, but when I see little packages about as big as my hand in the freezer, I snag ’em. Even though poussin are really, yes, just young chicken, they are so freaking adorable that I can never resist the temptation.
Sadly, there aren’t many recipes for poussin online, but if you google recipes for the tiny bird, something called Poussin Bonaparte will pop up right away. Basically, it’s a poussin, roasted upright with a root vegetable up its posterior and a strip of bacon around its chest. What could be bad?
If you’re a little scared to try preparing a chicken this tiny, don’t be! My recipe is a piece of cake to put together and requires only a handful of ingredients, so you’ll be on your way to a fun, tasty dinner in no time. Just remember, when in doubt, use a thermometer and common sense. They are two of a cook’s best tools.
Ready to give poussin a try? Good. Let’s get started.
About an hour before you want to eat, take your poussin out of the fridge and pat each one dry with a paper towel. Rub salt all over their skins and in their cavities and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour. (This will really help the flavors develop and tenderize the meat!)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a large roasting pan with a little coconut oil or ghee. Set aside.
Take out two big, fat, chunky carrots. (They need to be tough to be able to hold up the poussin!) Cut off either end of both and slice in half width-wise, leaving you with four fairly strong pieces of carrot. Set aside.
Get your four salted-and-at-room-temperature poussin ready. Mount each bird on top of each piece of carrot, trimming off an inch or so at the bottom of the carrot until the poussin can stand up on its own. Place all four in the large roasting pan you already greased, and smear them all with 2 tablespoons of melted ghee, butter, or coconut oil.
If you’re feeling fancy, wrap a strip of bacon from one of the poussin’s shoulders to its opposite hip. This will give each of your birds a little “sash!”
Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a thermometer in the breast reaches 165 degrees and thigh reaches 175 degrees. The skin (or at least the top half) should be crisped at this point.
Let the poussin cool for at least five minutes before removing the carrots and serving. (You can eat the carrots, too–they’ll have amazing flavor!)
What is your favorite kind of poultry? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!