Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/
gas 7. Season the inside of
the poussins generously with
salt and pepper, then stuff each
with a garlic clove, half a bunch
of thyme and a lemon half.
Sit the birds in a shallow
roasting dish. Smother
generously with butter, then
season the skin with sea salt and
black pepper. Roast in the oven for
about 40 mins.
While the birds are roasting,
prepare the accompaniments.
For the braised peas and
lettuce, heat a frying pan and add
a drizzle of oil. Sizzle the bacon for
2 mins until starting to crisp. Turn
down the heat a little, toss in the
onions, then continue to cook for
6-7 mins until they are golden.
Pour the chicken stock into
the pan, simmer for 2 mins,
then scatter in the peas and
cook for 2 mins more. Lastly, stir in
the lettuce and cook for 1 min until
just wilted, then set aside.
For the spring vegetables,
bring a large pan of salted
water to the boil and have
a bowl of iced water at the ready.
In batches, boil all the veg (except
the radishes), then transfer to the
iced water. The courgettes will
take 3 mins, the carrots and leeks
2 mins. Drain the vegetables, then
lay them on kitchen paper to dry.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil
in another frying pan, then
stir-fry the vegetables until
just starting to colour. Add the
vinegar, lemon zest and a little
seasoning. Turn off the heat, toss
through the radishes, then drizzle
with a little more oil.
Check if the poussins are
cooked by inserting a skewer or small knife between the leg and the breast; if the juices are pink, give the bird an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven. Once
ready, remove the poussins
from the dish and leave to rest,
upside down, for 10 mins (this keeps the breasts from drying out). To make
a simple gravy, remove the lemon
halves from the poussins, squeeze
into the juices in the roasting dish,
then whisk together.
Strain the lemony juices into
a jug. You are now ready to
carve the birds and plate up.
Using a sharp knife, cut through
the thigh joint and remove the leg. Cut each leg through the joint
to separate the drumstick from
the thigh. Carefully carve the breasts away
from the bone, cutting through the
joint to leave the wing attached. Carve each breast into 2 pieces
so each portion has 2 pieces of
leg and 2 pieces of breast.
Spoon a mound of the braised
peas and lettuce into the centre
of 4 large, shallow, bowls. Neatly assemble a ‘nest’ of
vegetables around the lettuce. Pile the carved poussin on top
of the lettuce, giving each serving
the same amount of meat. Pour over the lemony sauce
and serve straight away.