The Cottage Smallholder

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Sunday lunch: Roast poussin with honey, lemon and tamarind recipe

Photo: Roast poussin with honey and star anise

Photo: Roast poussin with honey and star anise

I discovered several great cut priced food bargains at Waitrose on Saturday evening. Wild rabbit, two poussin (baby chickens), beef mince and wonderful organic bread. One of the poussin would do for Sunday. Danny peered at the tiny baby chickens and contemplated sharing one the next evening. He swallowed and said nothing. This is a man who loves to cook and carve enormous slabs of meat.

I decided to diffuse the anxiety by talking.
“Don’t worry. I’ll cook. Perhaps lemon butter poussin with mini roasts. Or I’d quite like to have a go at a herb infused spatchcock chicken.”
He hared off upstairs with a spring to his step.

By Sunday evening I fancied making a roast with a difference. The young flesh of poussin can be succulent yet tasteless and needs help to shine. I’ve been wanting to try the combination of honey and star anise with chicken for some time. This recipe worked very well. The star anise and honey had permeated the meat, the lemon enhanced the flavours and cut through the sweetness. The tamarind gave the dish just the right edge and turned it into a wonderful sauce.

I chanced my arm and made Tabbouleh to go with it – adding herbs, finely sliced raw continental onions, uncooked Romano peppers and roasted pinenuts to ours. Using vegetable stock to soak the Bulgar Wheat. It was good but far more fresh herbs would have made it great – they were just not available from our garden the U.K. – the frosts had wrecked them.

This could be an easy supper party dish without the stress of standing in the kitchen cooking vegetables when everyone is having fun elsewhere. Most recipes allow one poussin per person. I reckon that a poussin will easily feed two, especially with a starter or pud. I just ate the breast of one half. Danny ate the rest but he did take three helpings!
“The chicken is succulent but the sauce is divine.”
He guzzled the sauce infused Tabbouleh and didn’t even mention the forgotten promise of mini roasts.

For the best Tabbouleh that I’ve ever tasted check out Mark Hix’s recipe in The Independent here.

Roast poussin with honey, lemon, star anise and tamarind recipe (for two)


  • 1 poussin
  • 4 tbsp of honey
  • Half a tsp of tamarind sauce
  • Large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Half a lemon – zest sprinkled over the breast of the bird and juice rubbed into the flesh. Place the half lemon shell into the cavity of the bird just before roasting.
  • 2 star anise placed under the bird
  • 2 tbsp of water poured under the bird
  • Quarter tsp of garlic paste (or one clove of fresh garlic finely chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 flat tsp of cornflour to thicken the sauce at the end
  • Foil to make a roasting cave


Heat your oven to 190c/170c fan

  1. Roll out a decent length of foil – at least 4 x the size of the poussin and lay half into a roasting pan or ovenproof dish. Pull up the sides to form a boat.
  2. Place the poussin breast up in this boat and pour the ingredients over the breast. Apart from the water that needs to be added under the chicken to avoid washing off the other ingredients.
  3. Pull over the rest of the foil and make an airtight chamber around the baby chicken, crimping well. Put into the centre of a pre heated oven for 50 minutes. Pull the foil way from the breast. Whap the oven temperature to 220c /200c fan for ten minutes to brown the breast.
  4. Remove the chicken to a warm place for ten minutes to relax while you thicken your sauce with the cornflour. Cut the poussin in half, arrange them on a dish and spoon the sauce over each portion.

  Leave a reply


  1. City Mouse/Country House

    This looks great – and I’m not even that adventurous. (Same story – great slabs of meat with potatoes.) Good bargain shopping too!

  2. Looks delicious… Well done on the Waitrose bargains!

  3. Hi there, that recipe sounds very tasty. How much did the poussin weigh do you know? You guys are doing very well with your low budget meals, and I enjoy reading your blog.

  4. …i’ve only just had breakfast but now you have me hungry for lunch! agh!

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