Poussin with Dates and Oranges

From issue #9.
Photography by Nick Tresidder.
Poussin with Dates and Oranges

Serves: 4


4 poussin
Spiced Butter
60 grams butter
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves finely grated zest of 1⁄2 orange
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
8 fresh dates 2 oranges 250 ml chicken stock 125 ml red wine


Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Combine the butter with the cumin, cardamom, thyme, orange zest and the garlic. Season well. Divide the butter into 4 portions. Rinse the cavity of the poussin and dry with paper towels. Cut up 1⁄2 the orange the zest was removed from and place a piece inside each poussin along with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Carefully lift the skin from the breast of each poussin taking care not to tear it and spread 3⁄4 of the butter under the skin. Smooth the skin back over the butter. Tuck the wings underneath and tie the legs with kitchen string. Spread the remaining butter over the breast and season.

Place the poussin in a roasting dish with the dates, the remaining 11⁄2 oranges cut into quarters, half the chicken stock and all the red wine. Roast in the oven for 50-60 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices.

When cooked, transfer to a platter along with 6 of the dates and the oranges and lightly cover to keep warm. Remove the stones from the 2 remaining dates and use a fork to mash them into the pan juices. Put the roasting pan back over the heat and add the remaining stock. Allow to bubble up and cook until reduced a little, scraping
up any sticky bits on the bottom of the pan. Taste for seasoning.

To serve: Place the poussin on a platter and surround with the oranges and dates. Pour the date sauce into a jug and pass separately. Serves 4

Poussin: A small, immature chicken, four to six weeks old, sometimes called a spring chicken, and weighing about 400g to 500g. Available from good butchers.