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  • Writer's pictureLydia Gerratt

Spatchcock Poussin with tarragon, parsley and garlic butter

Spatchcock Poussin with tarragon, parsley and garlic butter

Have you ever wondered how to cook these baby chickens called, poussin, when you wander past them neatly stacked on the supermarket shelves? I love cooking poussin as they are the perfect size for a quick lunch for two adults or a mouth-watering meal for your children.

Chicken cooked on the bone always has more flavour. Using a poussin makes this the easiest dish to prepare without having to buy a whole chicken and they are relatively cheap!

Poussins are young birds and they need very little cooking to create a succulent, tender meat with the crispiest skin. As they are so small it's easy to spatchcock with some scissors, flatten with your hands and then either grill or gently fry.

The tarragon, parsley and garlic butter is a bit of a faff to make, so I usually double the quantities and then roll the herby butter in parchement paper like a long sausage and keep it in the freezer. It takes me 6 months to use it up and you can just cut chunks off while it's still frozen. I've used this same butter in quite a few recipes so if you go to the effort of making it, try using it with my; Roast Salmon fillets, asparagus, potatoes, garlic and rosemary or salmon and pea tagliatelle with lemon, garlic, tarragon & parsley butter or dollop some on top of a seared steak or stir into boiled new potatoes.

Spatchcock Poussin with tarragon, parsley and garlic butter


2 poussin

25g tarragon, parsley and garlic butter (slightly frozen)

Sea salt & black pepper to season

Tarragon, parsley and garlic butter

100g unsalted butter

1 clove of garlic

5g fresh tarragon (the size of the bunch you can buy at the supermarket)

5g fresh parsley (the size of the bunch you can buy at the supermarket)


Start by making the tarragon butter. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape the herb butter out of the processor onto a large sheet of parchment paper.

Carefully roll the butter using the surrounding paper to create a sausage shape then seal the paper around the butter and place in the freezer to harden slightly. You only need a few slices of the tarragon butter for this recipe so I keep the remaining butter in the freezer.

Cut out the back bone with a pair of scissors - snip down either side of the bone and pull it away from the bird. This is easy as the bones are soft.

If you're using the grill, then turn to its highest setting to get properly hot by the time you have the birds ready. If you prefer to gently fry, put a medium size 'dry' pan onto a medium heat to get hot before you add the Poussin.

Gently lift the poussin's breast and leg skin away from the meat by running your fingers under the skin. Be careful not to 'detach' the skin completely from the bird. Cut the slightly frozen tarragon butter into 6 pieces and push each piece under as much skin as possible. This is so much easier to do when the butter is frozen! Season generously with salt and pepper (no salt if you're feeding your weaning baby).

Place the poussin skin side down on the grill rack and grill for 10 minutes (I set a timer so I don't forget). Or place the poussin skin side up in the frying pan and place a brick (yes, a brick! It's the perfect weight to use as its heavy and big enough to press down on the bird) covered in aluminium foil to weigh down the whole bird. Fry for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, turn the poussin over and cook for another 10 minutes. At the end of cooking, put the poussin on a warm plate and leave to rest for a few minutes.

I love to eat this succulent chicken with a green lettuce salad, French dressing and some potatoes crushed through with butter and a little milk.

Cut the meat into tiny pieces for your weaning baby (I would make this recipe for my boys when they were 9 months) or bite size pieces for your toddler.

Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking 20 minutes, 2 adult portions, 1 toddler portion, 1 baby portion

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