The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Best budget recipes for 50% or less: Roast spatchcock poussin marinated with fresh lime juice, olive oil and fresh herbs

Photo: Half a roast poussin

Photo: Half a roast poussin

Poussin – a baby chicken weighing about 500g – has been one of my standbys for years. Easy to cook, great if you are living alone as one can easily stretch to two or even three meals as long as you’re not keen on meat heavy meals.

The main drawback to a poussin is that they are not naturally packed with flavour. They are baby chickens after all. They are tender birds waiting to be imbued with your herbs and spices. One of the best poussin that I’ve ever tasted was a spatchcock with Provencal herbs sold by Waitrose. The herbs infuse the chicken for a couple of days and the result is superb. A 450g for bird £2.99.

Waitrose Select Farm fresh poussin are now £3.09 each (for 500g). But sometimes they sell the soon to be out of date at half price and then I pounce.  These are tossed in the freezer for when Danny is away or we fancy an inexpensive Sunday roast. Padded out with loads of vegetables and roast potatoes, a poussin will easily feed a couple of heavy carnivores.

Yesterday I decided to try my hand at spatchcock poussin. I cut through the back bone with kitchen scissors so as to flatten the bird and then mixed up the marinade and left the poussin to infuse the flavours in the fridge for 8 hours. The birds look teeny in the plastic box. When they are spatchcocked they look a lot bigger. This could be reassuring to an alpha carnivore mate.

I used Margaret and Tony’s trick. If you want to marinade meat evenly, pour the marinade into a plastic bag (this could be a milk bag or a supermarket vegetable bag) add the meat and then close the bag tightly around the meat expelling all air. In this way all of the meat is in contact with the marinade for all of the time. I sometimes gently massage the meat and marinade.

This trick also works well for fish.

The lime and fresh herbs gave the poussin lots of flavour and élan – clean fresh flavours. The olive oil gave the poussin a succulent edge.

If you find a poussin on offer grab one and marinade it – simple, easy cooking for an inexpensive Sunday roast treat.

Best budget recipes for 50% or less: Roast poussin marinated with fresh lime juice, olive oil and fresh herbs (for two)


  • I fresh 450g-500g poussin
  • The zest and juice of half a fresh lime
  • Two heaped tsp of freshly chopped herbs (I used oregano, 3 mint leaves, a tsp of thyme leaves, chopped fresh Greek basil)
  • 1chubby clove of garlic (crushed and chopped)
  • 1 tblsp of olive oil
  • 2 slices of good streaky bacon
  • Salt and a decent lash of freshly ground black pepper


  1. Turn the bird so that the breast rests on a board. Cut through the backbone of the poussin and flatten the bird.
  2. Mix up the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, fresh herbs, garlic, salt and ground black pepper.
  3. Pour into a reusable plastic bag, pop in the poussin. Expel all air from the bag and gently massage the marinade into the bird.
  4. Put the marinade bag and poussin into the fridge for at least eight hours.
  5. Then use bamboo or steel barbecue spikes to keep the spatchcocked bird flat. Arrange on a roasting dish with two slices of streaky bacon over the breast.
  6. Roast in a hot oven (210c/190c fan) for 45-55 minutes. The bird is cooked when you pierce the thigh and the juices run clear.
  7. Rest the bird, under a sheet of aluminium foil and a duvet of towels for ten minutes before serving.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda

    It was scrummy! Our Waitrose doesn’t have as good reductions as Tesco but sometimes things are offered for half price, generally chicken, fish and rabbit.

  2. This sounds great. Our Waitrose only ever reduce things by a tiny amount even when it’s on the day that they have to be used by, and the shop is about to close… I wonder why?

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Michelle in NZ

    The roast potatoes are to die for. How clever of you to notice them. Here is D’s recipe

    The marinated poussin is pretty good too.

  4. Michelle in NZ

    That looks so yummy, a flavoursome half a birdie with magnificent roasted spuds. Just as well my laptop doesn’t have an aroma delivery system – my dear cat would be demolishing the screen to get at the glorious smells.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful cookery. I’m storing away ideas ready for Winter.

    Hope you’re getting great signs of Spring,

    care, purrs and huggles from Michelle and Zebbycat in Wellington

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,237,279 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder