Spring Chickens

Poussins

Ingredients

  • 1 per person or half a larger bird per person
  • 2 oz. (60 g.) butter for each bird
  • 1 rasher of bacon for each bird

Method

You can stuff the little birds or not, as you like. The following stuffing, which is not too strong for their delicate flavour and texture, will be found very good:

  • ¼ lb. (120 g.) fine breadcrumbs
  • 2 oz. (60 g.) chopped and lightly sauté mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 yolk of egg
  • pepper and salt

Mix all together and insert in breasts of poussins. Stitch up flap of each breast with needle and thread. If you are serving halves of larger birds, spread the stuffing into the inside half and dot with pieces of butter.

If you are cooking small whole birds they are excellent threaded on the kebab skewers of a spit but should not be stuffed. They will cook in 15 minutes, brushed over with melted butter. The stuffing may be made up into little balls, floured, and cooked in the grill tray underneath the birds.

To cook in the oven, place the little birds, empty or stuffed, in a roasting tray, preferably on a grid though they may lie on the bottom. Cover the breast of each or the stuffed sides of the half birds with a piece of bacon fat. Melt 4 oz. (120 g.) butter in a small saucepan and pour over the birds so that each is well coated. Put into a preheated oven, 400° F., gas mark 6. After 5 minutes, baste with the butter which has run down into the pan. Repeat after 10 minutes, and remove the bacon fat from the breasts. Repeat basting at 15 minutes. After 20 minutes the birds should be nicely browned and cooked exactly enough. Keep hot while you make a rather thin gravy in the pan in which they cooked, after pouring almost all the butter off.

Serve as soon as possible. Fried or straw potatoes or very good creamed potatoes are best with spring chickens, and a plain green salad, particularly if it contains some watercress, is better than a cooked green vegetable. Do not serve sausages or bacon rolls with these; the flavours are too strong for the delicate young chickens.

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