Barbecued poussins with chicken livers, capers & pancetta
This is the dish I made last Christmas. There were only six of us at the beach, including visitors from England, so I wanted something easy to do on the barbecue, but still elegant enough for guests. Because you get one poussin per person it always seems special and also easy to serve with no carving involved. You can prepare the poussins up to a day ahead and refrigerate, bringing back to room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.
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- 6 poussins
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12-18 sage leaves
- Title:Chicken Liver, Caper & Pancetta Stuffing
- 500g chicken livers, cleaned and trimmed (see note below)
- 50g butter or 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 150g pancetta, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Poussins go well with many accompaniments but the stuffing is rich so keep them simple. A plain risotto or rice pilaf and steamed green vegetables would be perfect.
Heat a covered barbecue to hot, or an oven to 190°C.
Chicken Liver, Caper & Pancetta Stuffing
Chop the livers into small pieces. Heat the butter or oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onion, celery, bay leaves and pancetta for 5 minutes until translucent but not brown. Turn up the heat and add the chicken livers and fry, stirring constantly, for 1 minute until firm but still pink in the middle. Add the cognac or brandy and flambé. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves and stir in the capers, salt and pepper. Note: To clean chicken livers, carefully sort through them and cut off any green specks of bile, which will make the stuffing bitter. Carefully pull away sinew and connective tissue then gently rinse.
Carefully slide your hands between the breast and skin of the poussins, trying not to tear the skin.
Combine the olive oil, salt and pepper and rub this under the skin on to the breasts. Slide 2-3 sage leaves under the skin of each poussin.
Stuff the cavities with the chicken liver, caper and pancetta stuffing (recipe follows) then tie up the legs.
Place on the heated barbecue, cover and cook for 50-60 minutes. Or arrange on a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 1 hour.