Try Gurdeep's Provençal poussins with Épices Rabelais, shallots and dates, then check out preserved lemon poussin with tabbouleh and saffron yogurt, spatchcock poussin and Brazilian piri piri spatchcocked poussins.

Épices Rabelais is a French seasoning from Marseille that has origins dating back to 1880. Its unique secret blend of spices and herbs has never changed – and includes cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, nutmeg, fennel, savory and bay, evoking the taste of Provence. It’s popular with chefs at restaurants including Socca and Riviera in London, Le Dive in New York and La Colombe D’or in St Paul de Vence, France. Wonderful with roasted meats, you can also use it as a seasoning for fish or to add to festive pâtés or terrines. Buy from

Provençal poussins with Épices Rabelais, shallots and dates recipe


  • 100g salted butter, softened, plus 25g
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small bunch of sage, leaves picked
  • 14 small round shallots, peeled
  • 125g pitted dates
  • 2 Navel oranges,, zested to make 2 tbsp, juiced to make 150ml, then sliced
  • 125ml red vermouth
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2½ tsp Épices Rabelais
  • 3 large or 4 small poussins
  • green salad, winter greens or roast potatoes, to serve


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 4. In a large frying pan melt together 25g of butter with the olive oil. Add the sage leaves and sizzle for 2-3 mins or until crispy. Remove the crispy leaves and put on kitchen paper to drain.

  • STEP 2

    Add the shallots to the pan and fry for 5-6 mins or until browned all over, then add the dates and fry for 1 min. Remove from the heat, then add the orange juice and vermouth, deglazing any crispy bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir well and pour everything into a deep roasting tin.

  • STEP 3

    In a small bowl, mash together 100g of soft butter, the garlic, orange zest, Épices Rabelais and 1 tsp of salt to make a fragrant spiced butter.

  • STEP 4

    Put the poussins on a board and carefully tease the skins from the breasts – then generously stuff each bird with the spiced butter between the skin and flesh. Use any remaining spiced butter to rub over the outside of the birds. Stuff the cavities with slices of orange and a sprinkle of salt, and put in the baking tray.

  • STEP 5

    Roast for 30 mins, then remove from the oven and baste with the juices from the pan (add a splash of vermouth or water if it’s drying out). Roast for another 25-30 mins or until the poussins are cooked through and you have a rich, intense gravy. Serve with the crispy sage, and either a green salad, sautéed winter greens or roast potatoes.


Alternative ways with dates


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