Roast Poussins with Wild Mushroom Sauce


  • 4 poussin
    8 garlic cloves, crushed with their skins on
    16 thyme sprigs
    4 large pieces of lemons peel 50g butter
    For the wild mushroom sauce
    200ml white wine
    25g dried morels or dried porcini mushrooms (see Tip) 2 banana shallot, finely sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely grated 8 thyme sprigs, tied together with string
    300ml double cream
    50ml dry sherry
    pinch of cayenne pepper Baby Gem lettuce, blow-torched, to serve


1. First, make the sauce. Bring the white wine to the boil and pour it on top of the dried mushrooms. Cover with cling film and leave to soak and rehydrate for 1 hr. After this time, pass the wine through a fine sieve into a saucepan and put the mushrooms to one side. Add the shallots and garlic to the wine. Put the pan on a medium-high heat until the wine has reduced by two-thirds, and the shallots are soft and translucent. Add the tied-up sprigs of thyme, the mushrooms and double cream. Bring the cream to the boil and gently simmer until it has reduced by a third. Remove from the heat, season, pour in the Sherry and turn off the heat until serving. Can be made 2 days ahead.

2. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Stuff the cavity of each poussin with 2 garlic cloves, 4 sprigs of thyme and a piece of lemon peel. For neat presentation, you can now tie the poussin legs together, but this isn’t essential. Smear the butter over the poussins, put in a shallow roasting tin and cook for 30-35 mins until the legs easily come away from the bird, or until a digital cooking thermometer reads 75C when inserted in the breast. Take out of the oven, baste with the buttery cooking juices and leave to rest for 15 mins.