Sunday, February 15, 2009

Roasted Poussins with Cumin and Lemon (Page 400)


  • Date: Sunday, January 25, 2009 -- 8pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B-

This recipe came off the list from the random number generator. We started by preparing a mixture of softened butter, cilantro, lemon zest, cumin, salt, and pepper. Then I carefully slid my fingers between the skin and flesh of each bird, loosening the skin. I used my fingers to spread the butter mixture under the skin as evenly as possible. Then I tied the legs together, secured the wings with skewers, and put the birds in a roasting pan. I brushed melted butter over the birds and seasoned with salt, then roasted them until cooked through. To form the sauce I deglazed the pan with white wine. These birds came out ok, but not great. Poussins (baby chickens) are significantly more expensive than regular chicken, so our expectations were high. To be fair, the problem with this recipe had not so much to do with the little birds. The main problem was that the butter rub they were seasoned with just didn't taste that good. Indeed, these would have been better had they just been brushed with butter, sprinkled with salt, and roasted. As it was, they had a flavor that didn't complement the meat so well. The skin came out pretty crispy, which was nice, and the meat was properly cooked. But the dish certainly didn't convince either of us that the poussins were worth the money. Luckily, we had another poussin adventure the next day, which was much more rewarding (stay tuned!).

Here is the recipe.

When I moved from Boston to Southern Indiana, I was sure this project would suffer. How would I find all the strange ingredients I need? Ordering ingredients online is easy enough, but for meats and fish that is a little less practical (although still possible I suppose). The poultry section alone calls for goose, guinea hen, poussin, pheasant, quasil, capon, cornish game hen, squab, and rabbit (yes, rabbit is in the poultry section) in addition to the more canonical chicken, turkey, and duck. I thought finding such meats in small town Indiana was going to be a disaster. But, in fact, it is wonderfully easy! Bloomington has an amazing butcher shop, called Butcher's Block, and what they don't have in the store, they are happy to order. It's awesome. I just march over there with my list once per week, and they help me find whatever I need. Yesterday I went there to get 4 semiboneless quail, a leg of lamb boned and butterflied, a couple pounds of various chicken parts, and 5 pounds of veal bones. It was a piece of cake. The week before: pheasant and a bone-in fresh pork arm picnic shoulder. Also no problem. In fact, of all the strange types/cuts of meat I have asked for, they have never said no! Before moving to Bloomington, I bought most of my meat through grocery stores. But Butcher's Block has made me a believer in the independent butcher shop! Now I just need to find out if they can get me that rabbit I am going to need...


Adam said...

I know exactly what you mean about the appreciation for a good independent butcher. Mine is called Butcher Boy. Now, if I could only find a good fishmonger! (Hard to believe that I can't find good seafood in New England.)

As for the rabbit, you can order it at D'Artagnan.

Teena said...

Yeah, I wish we had a good fishmonger here too! Thanks for the tip about the rabbit! Now I have no excuse not to make that recipe.