Poached Poussin

Poached Poussin

I was giggling with someone recently about how when we were young, very new to cooking and just starting to reproduce recipes from books, we thought that we had to follow recipes to the letter or they wouldn’t work. I remember feeling that I couldn’t ‘properly’ make something unless I had every single ingredient. Aww. Imagine! I’m amazed I ever cooked anything. The idea of subbing just WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE, and cooking instinctively wasn’t something I had the confidence to do. I lacked the knowledge to improvise, which is fine of course, I had to learn. I taught myself to cook, basically, and I still do. Constantly. Cooks are always improving, finding new ingredients, bouncing off each other and taking inspiration from travels. Ah, but it’s such a wonderful world to live in. Cue dreamy music.

Now of course I can go to the shops with no idea what I want for dinner and come back with a plan, or wander into the kitchen and have fun making up recipes, experimenting, adding here and there and deciding when to stop (important skill to work on, that last one).

I enjoy, too, taking control of the basics. I make my own pickles, labneh, spice blends and stocks. It struck me the other day that the last time I bought chicken stock must actually date back years. The idea of chucking a chicken carcass after roasting, discarding that flavour, would just never be an option. So I had some chicken stock in the freezer, which I used to poach this poussin. The thing is about poaching a poussin, is that it’s lovely to have all the little vegetables in there taking on the flavour, but at the same time, the poussin isn’t in there long enough to really make a stock. I decided to double the chicken flavour by using the mother stock to cook the baby chicken and boy was it tasty. There are many ways to use up the meat but I like to have it in the sort of soup that looks and feels very cleansing, deceptively clear but with deep flavour, the vegetables bright and crisp.

I didn’t use up all the liquor and so left it sitting on the hob then my boyfriend (someone PLEASE think of a better word) used it to cook his rice, to which he then added pomegranate and other loveliness, and topped with grilled lamb chops. Some more spur of the moment creative cooking there.


I wrote this recipe for the Better with BRITA campaign.

Chicken Stock Recipe

1 chicken carcass
1 large carrot, cut into a few pieces
1 stick celery, cut into a few pieces
6 black peppercorns
2 fresh bay leaves
1 onion, cut in half
Parsley stalks
Any other vegetable trimmings you think will impart a nice flavour
BRITA filtered water

Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan and cover with BRITA filtered water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook very gently for 2-3 hours.

Poached Poussin

There are many ways to go with this poussin. Add whichever vegetables and liquids you fancy at the time. It’s all the spirit of experimentation, see.

1 poussin
Herbs, such as bay, thyme, parsley
Carrots (I used a handful of Chantenay)
1 stick celery, cut into a few pieces
4 spring onions, cut into several pieces
A handful of radishes
1 litre chicken stock (see above)
175ml white wine
A few peppercorns

Cover the poussin with the stock and wine, then add the vegetables. Season. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Shred the poussin meat and add back to broth. Eat with tons of heavily buttered, thickly cut white bread.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Lizzie May 18, 2015 at 10:29 am

    OTHER HALF (puke puke)

    MY MAN (double puke)

    THE BOY (great, infantalise him)

    I think Don Dons is probably best. The broth looks great – I would have instinctively roasted that poussin but that’s why my trousers are struggling to fit me these days.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen May 18, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Awful, isn’t it? I honestly just didn’t know what to write. ‘My partner’ … formal, much?

      • Avatar
        Reply Don Dons May 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm

        I think Don Dons or Ducky is probably the way forward

        • Avatar
          Reply Ferdinand Edwards May 22, 2015 at 4:21 pm

          We call each other ‘old stick’ – seems to work quite well.

          The broth looks like a window pane into a summer garden – wonderful freshness. Will try this recipe with mother stock immediately..

  • Avatar
    Reply Alicia (foodycat) May 18, 2015 at 10:56 am

    I loathe the expression “clean” eating, but that broth looks so lovely and fresh… and clean.

    One friend of mine refers to her long-time live-in person as her Beloved. Which is nice and works even on the days when she doesn’t like him very much.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen May 18, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Ha ha it sounds so…I dunno, almost medieval? In a nice way! Ha ha. Yes I loathe that expression too, but the broth did feel very cleansing.

  • Avatar
    Reply Neil May 18, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I’ve always thought that ‘my lover’ is the best, most dramatic epithet.

    Say it with the straightest of faces and as a throwaway line, and you’ll almost feel Parisian whilst watching your oh so puerile Anglo-Saxon mates cover up their general lack of worldliness with sniggers and snorts.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen May 18, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      Hmm yes, well, I COULD try it I guess. Not sure how that’s going to come across in writing without some clarification…

    • Avatar
      Reply Alicia (foodycat) May 21, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Or you could say it with a broad West Country accent and just enjoy how it sounds.

  • Avatar
    Reply Burnsie May 19, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    How about just his name?! Or a nickname? I use an online nickname for both spouse and offspring. I just really resent giving my relationship status to people; it’s also why I’m not a fan of labels.

    Lovely looking broth. Restorative!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen May 20, 2015 at 9:24 am

      I think it sounds weird to write an actual name, like you’re assuming everyone should know who they are.

  • Avatar
    Reply Ben Zalman May 24, 2015 at 12:43 am

    Great blog enjoyed reading it will be back again soon 🙂

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