A few restaurants near to where I live offer different variations of this dish using half-chickens. I spotted poussins in my supermarket and couldn’t resist giving it a go with my own twist.
My version of aioli is definitely a cheats method – I’m not a great fan of mayonnaise so I don’t personally take the time to make it from scratch. This recipe uses shop-bought mayonnaise as the base of the aioli, which is still very flavourful and a great accompaniment for both the poussin and the chips.
My recipe for twice-fried chips – or fries if you’re American! – is adapted from a Hairy Bikers recipe which involves frying at different temperatures.
This dish does involve overnight preparation, so please ensure you check the recipe fully before starting. This will save you time on the day of cooking and create the best possible result.
4 x poussins, skin on
4 tsp olive oil
handful of parsley, finely chopped.
12 x cloves of garlic, finely chopped
8 x cloves of garlic, whole
2 x lemons – 1 x halved, 1 x quartered
1 tbsp oil
1 x whole chicken leg, skin on
1 x onion, chopped
1 x stalk of celery, chopped
1 x carrot, chopped
1 x bulb of garlic, sliced in half horizontally
handful of parsley
1 x bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
100ml white wine
small knob of butter
80g shop-bought mayonnaise
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 x lemon, juice only
salt and pepper, to taste
4 x large potatoes – Maris Pipers are perfect as they create a fluffy centre
salt, to taste
- get started on the preparation a day beforehand. if you don’t have this option, at least try to get started a good few hours ahead. the two components that require overnight prep are the poussins and the chips. make a start on the poussins by combining the olive oil, the 12 x finely chopped garlic cloves, juice of one lemon and the parsley in a mixing bowl. keep the remaining garlic and lemon for cooking. evenly baste all 4 x poussins in the mixture and leave overnight in the fridge to marinade.
- in order to prepare the chips – wash the potatoes and peel. cut lengthways roughly into 1/2 inch wide slices, and then cut again to form chips. allow the chips to soak overnight in cold water.
- on the day of cooking, pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees celsius (fan oven) for the poussin and make a start on the jus. firstly, you’ll need to make a flavourful chicken stock. heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a deep-set pan. add the chicken leg until it starts to brown. add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, lemon, parsley, salt and pepper, and cover with boiling water. put a lid on the pan and allow to bubble away for an hour.
- use this time to create your aioli – simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl! keep sealed in the fridge until required.
- next, move on to the poussins. ensure they’re evenly covered in the marinade and place a quartered wedge of lemon and 2 x garlic cloves into the cavity of each bird. pop into a roasting tin and cook in the oven for approx 50 mins or as per the stated cooking time on the packaging.
- for the chips, you will need a cooking thermometer to ensure you’re reaching the correct temperature. for the first fry, half fill a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan with sunflower oil and heat to 130 degrees celsius. split your chips into 2 x batches, and gently lower the first batch into the oil once heated using a large, metal slotted spoon. stir the pan and fry for approx. 10 minutes. repeat with the second batch and set all aside to drain on lots of kitchen towels.
- your stock should be full of flavour an hour later – sieve the ingredients fully and keep all of the liquid. add the liquid to a wide-set pan and crank up the heat – you want to reduce it by over half.once reduced, add in the white wine and reduce further.
- re-heat the sauce pan for the chips up to 190 degrees celsius. this fry will give them their golden colour. lower all of the chips into the pan with the slotted spoon and fry until crisp – the hairy bikers note 4-5 minutes, but it took more like 3 minutes for mine! keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. once removed, sprinkle with plenty of salt – sea salt is always best.
- once the jus is reduced, whisk in a small knob of butter to give it some shine.
- serve the poussin and the chips, with a drizzle of jus. i served the aioli in a small pot on the side for chip-dipping!