Try chef Rosie Healey's recipe for spatchcock poussin, then also check out our guide for how to spatchcock a chicken, plus discover more recipes such as our honey masala spatchcock chicken, spatchcock chicken traybake and preserved lemon poussin.


  • 1 poussin, see cook’s notes
  • 18 pods cardamom
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • picked to make 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1, juiced lemon


  • 50g whole dried mild chillies
  • 1, roughly chopped red chilli
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 roasted red pepper from a jar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp, toasted and crushed cumin seeds
  • red wine vinegar
  • ½, juiced lemon


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½, finely chopped onion
  • 1 stick, finely diced celery
  • ½ bulb, finely diced fennel
  • 2 cloves, crushed garlic
  • picked to make 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • finely chopped to make 1 tsp rosemary
  • 125g Puy lentils
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar


  • STEP 1

    For the harissa, tip the dried chillies into a bowl and pour over enough just-boiled water to cover. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.

  • STEP 2

    Spatchcock the poussin by removing the backbone with kitchen scissors or a very sharp knife. Turn the poussin so it’s breastside down on a chopping board, and cut up one side of the backbone and then cut the other side to remove the backbone. Turn breast-side up and press down, flattening it with your hands. Use a knife or scissors to cut along the centre of the breasts in one quick motion, cutting it into two pieces.

  • STEP 3

    Use a pestle and mortar to bash the cardamom pods. Remove the seeds, discarding the pods, then add the cumin and crush, followed by the thyme and garlic. Crush into a paste, then stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and some salt. Rub this mix all over the poussin and chill in the fridge for at least eight hours, but preferably overnight.

  • STEP 4

    For the lentils, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion, celery, fennel and garlic, and cook gently for 15 minutes or until soft and translucent, adding a little water if it sticks. Add the thyme and rosemary, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the lentils and some seasoning, and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft but still with a little bite, adding more water if it looks dry.

  • STEP 5

    Drain the soaked chillies and whizz to a thick paste in a blender or food processor with the fresh chilli, garlic, red pepper and olive oil. Add the cumin, a dash of red wine vinegar, lemon juice and some seasoning, and whizz again.

  • STEP 6

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat an ovenproof frying pan with a splash of olive oil and brown the poussin halves, breast-side down, for 5 minutes or until golden. Flip them over then put the pan into the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and leave to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

  • STEP 7

    Reheat the lentils, adding the red wine vinegar and divide between two plates. Top with the poussin and finish with a spoon of the harissa.

Cook's notes

  • A poussin is a young chicken that weighs a lot less than a regular chicken so is perfect for feeding just two people. You can find them in larger supermarkets and butchers.

Have you tried our poussin with preserved lemon recipe?

Poussin Recipe with Preserved Lemons and Tabbouleh



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