Poussins with Fresh Coriander and Lime

One poussin per person is generous but half of one, is, I think, definitely skimping. A whole bird on your plate also looks more impressive so serve this for a small dinner. Flavourful cheese under the skins and bacon on the breasts keep the birds tender.

Ingredients

  • 75 g (3 oz) full-fat white cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Large bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • 5 cm (2 in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped very finely
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 2 limes
  • 4 poussins
  • 12-16 rashers rindless smoked bacon
  • 300 ml (½ pint) double cream
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

Put the white cheese into a bowl with the lemon juice and work with a wooden spoon to soften and mix. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the smallest coriander leaves and chop the remaining leaves roughly. Stir the chopped coriander, ginger and grated lime rind into the white cheese mixture.

Lift up the skin of the poussins from the neck end and carefully insert your fingers to separate the skin from the flesh. Cut a small slit in the skin of the inside leg of each bird and stick a finger in to loosen the skin from the thighs, too. Using your fingertips place the cheese paste under the skin of the birds and press from the top to distribute the paste all over the breasts and the thighs. Place the rashers of bacon over the breasts and thighs of the poussins, cutting the bacon to fit. Put the poussins in a roasting tin and cook in a preheated oven, 190°C, 375°F, Gas Mark 5 for 40-45 minutes. Transfer the birds to a warmed serving dish or individual plates.

Add the lime juice to the cooking juices in the roasting tin, then place it over a fairly high heat. Bring the juices to the boil and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the cream and boil again, still stirring, for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has thickened quite a bit. Remove from the heat and add the reserved coriander leaves with salt and black pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce into a sauceboat to serve with the poussins or, if they are already on individual plates, spoon the sauce on to each plate.

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