Roast poussin with clementines

by Rachel Phipps

An intensely-flavoured dish with festive spices


For the marinade:
1 large poussin
Juice of 1 large orange
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
Large pinch of ground cloves
½ tsp sea salt

For the spice butter:
25g unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch ground cloves

For the clementines:
2 clementines
1 tbsp cognac or brandy
Freshly ground black pepper

For the gravy:
½ tbsp cornflour stirred into ½ tbsp cold water
A generous glug of cognac or brandy
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make the marinade pour the orange juice, spices and salt into a large plastic bag.

Use a sharp knife to pierce your bird all over, put it in the bag and seal it with a knot in the top. Massage until the poussin is well coated and leave in the fridge overnight, or marinate it in the morning in time for dinner. You don’t have to, but I like to shake the bag a little to move the marinade around each time I’m at the fridge to fetch something.

Boil a kettle and pour boiling water over the clementines in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer with a lid on the pan for 20 mins. Remove the clementines to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C and let the poussin, still in its marinade, come up to room temperature. Take the bird out of the bag and transfer it to a roasting pan and roast for an hour. Meanwhile, combine the butter and the spices to create spiced butter for basting, and halve the cooked clementines.

After half an hour, remove the bird from the oven and baste with half the spice butter. Place the clementines around the poussin, splash with cognac or brandy and season with freshly ground black pepper. Return to the oven for another 15 mins, before basting with the rest of the butter and returning to the oven.

After a total cooking time of 1 hour, remove the bird, check it is done, then place it on a warm plate covered with foil and leave to rest while you make the gravy and dish up whatever vegetables you’re planning on presenting as accompaniments.

Recipe: Rachel Phipps