Stuffed Roast Poussin with Asparagus

Rosemary Shrager's spring chickens are stuffed with a herby rice served up with a super spicy asparagus stir-fry
By Rosemary Shrager
Stuffed Roast Poussin with Asparagus
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: hard


For the poussins

  • 60 g butter, for frying
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 leeks, finely diced
  • 2 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 700 ml chicken stock, hot
  • 400 g basmati rice
  • 1 tsp chervil, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 6 whole poussins
  • 4 tsp redcurrant jelly, melted
  • 3 asparagus, blanched and halved lengthways

For the tomato chilli sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cm finely chopped ginger
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • green cardamom pods
  • 15 tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tbsp hoi sin sauce
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • extra chicken stock, if needed

For the asparagus

  • 1.5 asparagus
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cm finely chopped ginger
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chinese five spice
  • 2 tbsp tomato chilli sauce
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, blanched, for garnish


1. Pre-heat oven to 190C/gas 5.

2. To prepare the pilaff, melt the butter in a roasting tin or large oven-proof saucepan on the hob, add the vegetables and cook until softened. Stir in the rice and continue cooking everything over a low heat for 2-3 minutes.

3. Pour in the hot stock and cover the top with greaseproof paper, letting it rest lightly on the surface of the pilaff. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or a little longer until the rice is tender but still slightly nutty, topping up with stock if it dries out too quickly.

4. When the pilaff is ready, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool. Increase the oven heat to 200C/gas 6.

5. While the pilaff is cooking, bone the poussins. Turn each bird breast-side down and make an incision along its back length. Cut around the bony rib cage of the bird and remove it, then carefully remove the longer leg-bones, taking care not to damage any more of the skin.

6. Stir the herbs and butter into the cooled pilaff. Spread each of the flattened poussins breast-side onto the board. Lift the breasts up, spoon the pilaff onto the skin, put the breasts back. Pull the outside edges of the skin together over the meat and rice so it overlaps slightly and forms a parcel rather like a miniature turkey.

7. Seal the parcel by weaving a skewer through the length of the overlapped skin as if sewing up the bird. Place the birds breast-side up again and feed an extra skewer through from one side to the other to secure further.

8. To make the tomato chilli sauce, soften the garlic, onion, ginger and chilli in a medium sauce pan. Add the cumin and cardamom pods, mix well and cook for a few minutes. Next, add the tomatoes, hoisin sauce and harissa, cook for a further 15 minutes until it thickens, then pass through a fine sieve.

9. Roast the poussins in the oven for 40 minutes, then take them out and brush redcurrant jelly over each bird. Put them back in the oven for 5 minutes, then keep warm while you make the stir-fry.

10. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan or wok and add the garlic, ginger, chilli, and five-spice, then the asparagus. Make sure the heat is turned right up and cook for 1-2 minutes until the asparagus is tender.

11. To serve, spoon a small amount of the chilli sauce on the plate, followed by a small pile of stir fry. Place the poussin on top and garnish with the blanched asparagus.

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