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Roast and poached poussin with crayfish, chanterelles and summer truffles

11 September 2006
Roast and poached poussin with crayfish, chanterelles and summer truffles
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Preparation here is for a single portion. Alex Aitken will usually poach all the boned poussin legs of a batch in advance and roast the breasts to order. ### Advance preparation Boning the poussin. Note: it's easier to do this with well-chilled birds because the flesh is firmer. Legs: Cut around the skin to expose the leg. Pull it off against the joint attaching it to the carcass (1). Loosen the skin at the end of the drumstick and scrape the bone clean (2). Expose the thighbone and the joint attaching it to the drumstick using the point of a sharp knife. With shears or a heavy-duty knife, cut off the bone on the drumstick side of the joint, leaving a bone running through the centre of the drumstick like a small skewer (3). Breasts: Generally, chefs remove the wishbone from poultry and feathered game as a first step to preparation. For this dish a slightly different process is easier. Keeping as close to the breastbone as possible, cut down on either side of it with a sharp knife (4). Cut along the inside of the wishbone. Remove the two breasts. Leave the wing-bone in one breast but cut it off the other (5).
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(1) Cut around the leg skin
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(2) Scrape the bone clean
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(3) Cut off the bone
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(4) Cut down on either side
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(5) Leave one wing bone
### Stuffing the breast 2 poussin breasts 1 heaped tbsp chicken mousse 3 boiled crayfish tails Salt and pepper Caul fat Lay the breast with the wing-bone attached skin-side down on the surface. With your thumb, press down on the middle of it to make a shallow depression. Spoon mousse over this hollow and lay the crayfish on top (6). Lay the two breast filets mignons on either side and cover with the second breast (7). Season and wrap in caul fat.
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(6) Spoon mousse over hollow
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(7) Cover with a second breast
### Stuffing the half-boned legs 2 poussin legs 2tbs chicken mousse 1tbs sautéd chanterelles with thyme 1tbs chopped summer truffles Salt and pepper Caul fat Lay the legs on a work surface. Combine half the mousse with chanterelles and the other with truffle. Fill one leg cavity with one farce and the other with the second, pressing them as far into the leg as possible (8). Enclose the farces with the thigh and any skin overlapping it (9). Season and wrap in caul fat (10). Note on chicken mousse: Aitken uses a classic 500g blended chicken breast, 2 egg whites, 500ml double cream, salt and pepper mixture for the stuffing base.
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(8) Fill leg cavity
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(9) Enclose farces with the thigh
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(10) Wrap leg in caul fat
### Cooking and assembly 1 stuffed poussin breast 10g unsalted butter Splash of oil 400ml seasoned chicken stock 1 heaped tbs coarse vegetable brunoise (carrot, leek, onion) 2 stuffed poussin legs 50ml (approx) Madeira sauce plus garnish 50g (approx) baby spinach Salt 1tbs oil 1 fried 8cm rösti or potato cake Sear the poussin breast in hot butter and oil on top of the range, turning it once or twice (11). Set the surface only. Transfer to a very hot oven (260°C) four minutes. Keep hot, preferably under a lamp, for at least 15 minutes. Heat the stock and brunoise to simmering point (12). Poach the legs until the mousse has set - about 15 minutes (13). They're ready when firm and springy. If you've prepared a batch in advance, reheat either in stock or in a microwave oven. Bring the finished sauce and garnish to the boil Wash the spinach in salted water and wilt in oil. Press dry. Arrange in a circle in the centre of the plate with a hot, fresh potato cake on top. Put the poussin breast on this. Cut each poussin leg in half to expose the stuffing. Place on either side of the breast. Pour on a cordon of sauce and the garnish. Serve accompanied by a finger bowl so that the diner can pick up the drumstick with his fingers if he likes.
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(11) Sear the poussin breast in hot butter
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(12) Heat the stock
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(13) Poach the legs until the mousse has set
Photo © Sam Bailey
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