Pollo al Pumate e Mirto

Sardinian-Style Grilled Chicken

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

This is a combination of two Sardinian chicken dishes; one, a roast chicken stuffed with giblets, sun-dried tomatoes, hard-cooked egg yolks, and cream, the other a chicken boiled with bay leaves. Both seemed a little far out for the average American (my childhood memories of boiled chicken are horrendous). So we took the sun-dried tomatoes from one recipe and the bay leaves from the other, put the chicken on the grill (most people seem to love grilled chicken), and everyone is happy.



  • 2 cups olive oil
  • ½ cup (or to taste) fresh lemon juice
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 20 to 24 sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), drained and finely chopped
  • ½ cup oil from jar of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 poussins (young chickens) or half-broilers, about 1 pound each
  • 8 medium or 16 small sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon wedges for serving


    Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until very warm; do not boil. Let cool. Reserve ½ cup for the sauce.

    To butterfly the poussins, insert a heavy, sharp knife at the neck cavity and carefully cut down one side of the backbone. Cut along the other side to separate it from the body. Pull open the sides of the poussin, turn it skin side up, and press firmly on the breast with the heel of your hand to flatten it. Trim the excess skin at the neck end. Starting at the neck, gently slip your hand underneath the skin and carefully detach it from the breast meat. Slip 1 medium or 2 small tomatoes under each side of the breast skin. Fold the wings back against themselves so they lie flat.

    Place the butterflied poussins in a large nonaluminum container. Pour the cooled marinade over top and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, 2 days.

    Let the poussins warm to room temperature. Heat the grill.

    For the sauce, combine the reserved ½ cup marinade, the olives, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes; set aside.

    Remove the poussins from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill or broil skin side away from the heat, basting often with the marinade, about 5 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer and the skin is golden and slightly crispy, about 5 more minutes. Serve with the sauce and lemon wedges. Accompany with Braised Lentils with Pancetta and Aromatic Vegetables or a dish of buckwheat ravioli filled with ricotta, goat cheese, and greens, and sauced with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, and cream.