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In the United Kingdom, poussin (or less common coquelet) is a term commonly used by butchers for a young chicken, less than 28 days old at slaughter and usually weighing 400-450 grams but not above 750g. It is sometimes also called spring chicken, although the term “spring chicken” usually refers to chickens weighing 750-900g.

Stateside, poussin is an alternative name for a small-sized [cross-breed] chicken called Rock Cornish game hen. Developed in the late 1950s, this breed is twice as old and twice as large as the typical British poussin.

Roast poussin with cumin-lime-herb butter, served with pan-fried potatoes, shallots and rosemary

Click here to view a large-sized version of this picture.

If you can’t get poussin at your local farmers’ market, substitute a Cornish game hen. You might have to adjust the cooking time however. Allow one poussin or Cornish game hen per person.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lime zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
kosher salt
freshly milled black pepper
2 poussins
1/3 cup pinot gris or other white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a small bowl stir together 2 tablespoons butter, parsley, lime zest, cumin, salt, and pepper until combined. Trim necks of poussins flush with bodies if necessary. Rinse birds inside and out and pat dry. Beginning at neck end of each bird, slide fingers between meat and skin to loosen skin, being careful not to tear the skin. Divide seasoned butter into 4 portions. Using a teaspoon put 1 portion of butter under skin of each breast half. Spread seasoned butter evenly under skin by pressing outside of skin with fingers. If desired, truss legs of each bird together with kitchen twine and secure wings to sides with toothpicks or skewers.

Arrange birds in a roasting pan or Pyrex baking dish just large enough to hold them. Melt remaining tablespoon butter. Brush butter onto birds; generously sprinkle with salt. Roast the poussin in the upper third of oven for 45 minutes, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of the inner thigh registers 170 F.

Transfer birds to a platter and loosely cover with foil to keep warm. Add wine to roasting pan and deglaze, scraping up any browned bits. Gradually whisk in the butter cubes. Reduce over moderate heat until sauce thickens slightly. Check seasoning.

Serve poussins with sauce.

The potatoes were 6 Ozette potatoes and one large shallot, peeled and sliced, fried in unsalted butter over medium-high heat, then finished with sea salt and rosemary leaves.

4 replies »

    • I understand where you’re coming from Arnie — but this is the thing I don’t get — you KNOW I’m not a vegetarian [even though I have a fairly heavy vegetable-focus on this here blog thingy] — and yet you leave comments like this on posts you don’t like.

      I’m slowly beginning to understand why the vast majority of foodblogs I’ve come across have moderated comment sections.

      I don’t think this is enough to push me in that direction. I like the open free exchange of information, ideas and discussion…and I feel that comment moderation sometimes has an unintended chilling effect.

      On the other hand, I do wish that a little more respect and thoughtfulness were shown. I’m not going to stop posting meals and pictures of MEAT [you probably won’t want to tune in next weekend when I do BRAISED LAMB SHANKS over creamy polenta] but at the same time, I hope that you [or readers like you] keep coming back — for the posts that you do like and catch your fancy.


  1. I never understood the need for veg=a-metarians to go to food blogs, which they KNOW will have recipes for meat and leave snarky comments. It doesn’t make sense. Forget the lamb shanks – do a recipe about sweetbreads – I bet we’ll hear his head explode!

    I’ll have to send you my recipe for braised lamb shanks. Can’t wait to see if they’re similar.


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