Poussin with Pomegranate Molasses, Turkish Chilli & Rose

July 30, 2013

I do love the word ‘spatchcock’. Oh come on. Aside from the juvenile pleasure, the giggles and unnecessary emphasis, it’s just such a satisfying word to say. Go on, say it. Say it out loud like you mean it.

It’s also, handily, a very useful and easy way of prepping a bird in order to ensure even cooking, particularly on the BBQ. I’m sure you already know this, but I had to say something useful and serious, otherwise this is just a post about a word that sounds funny. Here’s a vid if you’re not familiar with how to do it.

I made these three times before I was happy with the marinade. The first time – too orangey, the second time – too meh, the third time however…well if I hadn’t nailed it the third time I would have been worried. Pomegranate molasses makes a wonderfully sticky marinade with its exotic sweet and sour flavour, there’s orange juice too and then plenty of BOOM! spicing in the form of Turkish chilli flakes and cumin. I also used dried rose petals, which have always baffled me. In the bag they just smell kinda dusty. I didn’t get it. When ground up however, they did add a nice floral (duh) flavour, which I’d originally tried to achieve with orange blossom water (didn’t work – just tasted like bubble gum).

These were fabulous served with some grilled spring onions – just oil and sling ’em on the grill. A cucumber salad was refreshing, made with spring onions, parsley and sour cream. Oh and there was leftover dirty BBQ veg on the side.

The way to get the poussin tasting really good is to reserve half the marinade and brush it on as they are cooking. This makes sure you get plenty of that flavour on there, without it all slipping off a la marinade. Sticky, sweet, charred, spicy. Incredibly good, actually.

Pomegranate Molasses and Turkish Chilli Poussin Recipe

(serves 2)

2 poussins, spatchcocked

For the marinade:

4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons Turkish chilli flakes
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried rose petals
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (use a good one)
Juice of 1/2 small orange
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
Splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bash up the cumin seeds with the rose petals until you have something resembling a powder, then mix with all the other marinade ingredients. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover the poussin with half the marinade, reserving the rest for brushing on top during cooking.

Cook on the BBQ until, well, cooked (depends on the size of your poussin really – mine took about 20 minutes), turning and brushing regularly with the marinade.

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  • Avatar
    Reply The Brussels Cook(er) July 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Oh wow these look FANTASTIC! I’m a big fan of both poussins and pomegranate molasses and will make these asap (I’ve seen dried rose petals in my Turkish grocers so many times but was never sure how to use them before – so thank you)! Please also check out my char-grilled poussin blog from yesterday:

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen July 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Very pleased you like the look of them. Give the rose petals a go!

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    Reply oliver standing July 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Spatchock and you don’t stop.

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    Reply Becs @ Lay the table July 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Helen, would I be able to find pomegranate molasses in a middle Eastern shop? Also, love your crockery, so beautiful and fits in perfectly with the theme 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen July 31, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Yes you definitely will!

      And thank you 🙂

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    Reply donald July 31, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Would you say that it was a funky chicken?

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 1, 2013 at 8:12 am


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    Reply Susan August 1, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Those headless chickens on the platter look ready to dance. Love, love the flavorings.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 1, 2013 at 8:12 am

      Should’ve put sunglasses on them…

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    Reply Will August 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Hi there,

    They look amazing! Did you leave said poussins to sit about in the marinade at all, or was it a case of into marinade & straight onto bbq?



    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      I did, but only for about an hour. As you’re brushing it on while cooking you’ll still get a good flavour.

  • Avatar
    Reply Will August 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Brill, thanks – will give ’em a go this weekend!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      Let me know what you think!

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    Reply Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) August 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I LOVE your pottery here, really lovely! And the birds look delish. Spatchcock… hehe.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 7, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks! Charity shop spoils. I’m addicted to rummaging. I’m very glad you appreciate the word. SPATCHCOCK.

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    Reply Chris Berry @scrummyscran August 8, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Great post and the photographs of the spatchcock look superb. I’m smiling to myself and saying “spatchcock”, now. Hope nobody is listening…

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 8, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Open the window and shout it into the street! Naked!

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    Reply Marcus August 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Love a good spatchcocking, this is stunning, love the marinade you have used.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 10, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Cheers Marcus!

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    Reply s August 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Helen – love your photos because they are so real – all the food looks delish and utterly edible. I want to make this – I adore pomegranate molasses to death. And poussin. x s

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 12, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Thanks Shayma! I can’t get enough pom molasses either. x

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    Reply Food Urchin August 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I SPATCHCOCKED some chickens for the bbq the other day and I must say SPATCHCOCK is great way of preparing chicken. I used pom molasses too………….SPATCHCOCK!!!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      LOVE the way the pom molasses goes all sticky.


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    Reply Emma August 18, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Hello, I just discovered your blog and it’s great! The food looks so delicious, I want to try it all! I also love the photos and your plates and table!! I’ve just started on my own food blog so yours is very inspirational. I’ll be back for more!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen August 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      Aww thanks Emma. Good luck with your new blog!

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