- 4 poussin
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed with their skins on
- 16 thyme sprigs
- 4 large pieces of lemon peel
Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…
- 50g butter
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
For the wild mushroom sauce
- 200ml white wine
- 25g dried morels or dried porcini mushrooms (see Tip)
- 2 banana shallots, finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 8 thyme sprigs, tied together with string
- 300ml double cream
- 50ml dry sherry
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- Baby Gem lettuce, blowtorched, to serve (see Tip)
First, make the sauce. Bring the white wine to the boil and pour it on top of the dried mushrooms. Cover with cling film and leave to soak and rehydrate for 1 hr. After this time, pass the wine through a fine sieve into a saucepan and put the mushrooms to one side. Add the shallots and garlic to the wine. Put the pan on a medium-high heat until the wine has reduced by two-thirds, and the shallots are soft and translucent. Add the tied-up sprigs of thyme, the mushrooms and double cream. Bring the cream to the boil and gently simmer until it has reduced by a third. Remove from the heat, season, pour in the Sherry and turn off the heat until serving. Can be made 2 days ahead.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Stuff the cavity of each poussin with 2 garlic cloves, 4 sprigs of thyme and a piece of lemon peel. For neat presentation, you can now tie the poussin legs together, but this isn’t essential. Smear the butter over the poussins, put in a shallow roasting tin and cook for 30-35 mins until the legs easily come away from the bird, or until a digital cooking thermometer reads 75C when inserted in the breast. Take out of the oven, baste with the buttery cooking juices and leave to rest for 15 mins.
I’ve always used dried morels for this sauce and they are, in my opinion, the only dried mushrooms that are better and more luxurious dried than fresh. However, they can be hard to find – and expensive – so you can use dried porcini mushrooms instead. Both are rehydrated and cooked in the same way, but porcini mushrooms can be a bit grittier, so take extra care and keep a close eye on them when you are draining off the soaking liquid.
I love using a blowtorch to char ingredients, as it gives them added colour and an almost barbecued flavour, without wilting them down too much. Halve four Baby Gem lettuces, and wash and dry if needed. Put on a baking tray, cut-side up, and drizzle with a little rapeseed oil. Blowtorch the lettuce until nicely charred – this will take seconds – season with a little sea salt and serve.