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Baby Chickens With Lime And Chilli

Poussins are small birds which are ideal for one to two portions. The best way to prepare them is spatchcocked - flattened out - to ensure more even cooking.

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4 poussins or Cornish hens, about 450g/1lb each
45ml/3 tbsp butter
30ml/2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
Finely grated rind of 1 lime
10ml/2 tsp chilli sauce
Juice of lime
Lime wedges, to serve
Fresh flat leaf parsley sprigs, to garnish


Serves: 4


1. Place each poussin on a chopping board, breast-side upwards, and press down firmly with your hand, to break the breastbone.

2. Turn the poussin over and, with poultry shears or strong kitchen scissors, cut down either side of the backbone. Remove it and discard.

3. Turn the poussin breast-side up and flatten it gently. Lift the breast skin carefully and gently ease your fingertips underneath, to loosen it from the flesh.

4. Mix together the butter, sun-dried tomato paste, lime rind and chilli sauce in a small bowl. Spread about three­quarters of the mixture under the skin of the poussins, smoothing it evenly over the surface of the flesh.

5. To hold the poussins flat during cooking, thread two bamboo skewers through each bird, crossing at the centre. Each skewer should pass through a drumstick and then out through a wing on the other side.

6. Mix the reserved paste with the lime juice and brush it over the skin of the poussins. Cook on a medium­-hot barbecue, turning occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until there is no trace of pink in the juices when the flesh is pierced. Garnish with lime wedges and fresh flat leaf parsley.

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