A really delicious dish that adds a burst of sunshine to the table. It is also really easy to make and requires very little of your time and attention. Delicious as it is or with a salad and some potatoes or some crusty bread on the side. The saffron is expensive and adds its lovely musky flavour but if you don’t have any or if it isn’t a special occasion, leave it out, the dish is still delicious without.
- 4 poussin, cleaned (see Note)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 125ml (½ cup) Greek yoghurt
- 8 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 25 g piece peeled ginger
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 2-4 green chillies (seeded if desired)
- 1 tsp heaped of ground turmeric
- 2 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Garlicky saffron yoghurt
- 225 g Greek yoghurt
- 1 medium-large garlic clove or to taste, grated into a fine paste
- good pinch saffron threads soaked in 1 tbsp hot water
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) mayonnaise
- 1 large ripe tomato, chopped
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- large handful chopped coriander leaves and stalks
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 1 hour or overnight if time permits
To make the marinade, place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. Pierce the poussin all over with a fork and use your fingertips to gently create a pocket between the breast and the skin. Place in a bowl, rub the marinade all over and push some in the pocket you’ve made under the skin. Stand for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate overnight if time permits.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the poussin, breast side up and side by side in a roasting tin. Roast for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through, basting half way through cooking. To check if they’re done, pierce between the leg and the thigh with the tip of a knife and check if the juices run clear, they’re ready. Take out of the oven, baste again with the pan juices, then cover and rest for 5 minutes.
To make the garlicky saffron yoghurt, mix together all the ingredients, reserving a little of the tomato and coriander for serving, then season to taste.
Serve the poussin whole or halved, drizzled with any remaining pan juices and a good dollop of the garlicky yoghurt on the side garnished with some of the reserved tomato and coriander.
• Poussin is also sold as spatchcock, but if you can’t find any you can easily use chicken and increase the cooking time a little.