30 August 2012

Knorr send us two Poussin to tangle with ... and get in a tangle we did!

I've never cooked a Poussin before, much less two.  Still, how difficult could it be?  After all, a Poussin is only a baby chicken - surely you just reduce everything and add some "awww!".  No?  Oh.

Well, Knorr very kindly sent us the aforesaid two little Poussin, along with some Knorr chicken stock pots, a lemon, some herbs and an odd selection of picnic bits and pieces including two burgers.  They also sent a variety of recipes - one of which was specifically for the Poussin and involved the stock, lemon and herbs (although I have to say, that the lemon and parsley only came into play as garnish).

Now I have got a bit nervous about good old Marco Pierre White's recipes after our complete disaster with his last one (Chicken Chasseur) where the type of chicken did not match the type of recipe.  Although, having said that, this recipe (Spatchcocked Chicken with Chipolatas) seemed simple enough.

We had one problem, though, in that this recipe was for two people - and there are three of us.  So, we decided to split the goodies up and add some bits, cooking the Poussin on the barbecue along with some burgers and with a bowl of couscous and a home made salsa to accompany them.  The remainder of the picnic goodies, we decided to turn into a proper picnic to be enjoyed out on the New Forest somewhere.

At least, that's how it all started.  Somehow - and I'm really not sure how, except for the intervention of bad weather - it didn't finish up that way.

Chipolatas (left) and Burgers (right) - re-invented as meatballs!
The Spatchcocked Poussin wound up being cooked in the oven and son & heir had sausages, plus the burgers which came in the box wound up being made into meatballs along with the chipolatas, to fill some subs for the picnic.

It's quite a long way from the original intention, isn't it.  ~scratches head~  Oh well - it was all very nice, even so!

So, dealing with the picnic first - which shall henceforth be known as the indoor picnic as already mentioned - the star of the show was two foot-long subs made with meatballs from the two burgers and the chipolatas, Maasdam cheese slices and salad - with copious quantities of tomato relish.

Try getting those into your face without losing a meatball!

The burger meat (Welsh beef) was mixed with a Chipotle paste and simply formed into small meatballs.  The chipolatas were taken out of their jackets and the sausagemeat was mixed with a small amount of Mic's Chilli El Loco BBQ Sauce before also being formed into small meatballs.  The two types were then baked in the oven until cooked.

All cheesed up and ready for their lids

Hopefully it is needless to say, that we cut the subs in half before trying to manoeuvre them into our faces!  The two types of meatball were great in the sandwich and each had a very definite character of its own - although my favourite has to be the sausagemeat ones.

Knorr had also sent us two little Roasted White Onion Tartlets from Foreman & Field, which at £4.95 for 2 seemed utterly outrageous to me.  Especially considering how soggy and pallid they were - but the flavours were extremely yummy, so I forgave them their price just a little bit.  I'm sure a brief trip through the oven would have cheered up their floppiness, if we'd have had the time.

A really quite superb Scotch egg

The handmade Scotch Eggs purported to be "still soft in the middle" and I can quite categorically confirm that the egg was indeed just that little bit delightfully squishy in the middle.  Mind you, at the brain-fuddling price of £5.95 for the two, I was looking for some gold leaf at least!  Son & heir commented that although he quite liked them, the Scotch Eggs tasted like "posh versions" of themselves, which about says it other than to add that they were one of the nicest Scotch Eggs I've had in a very long time.  But for just short of £3 each?  *snort*  I so don't think so!

I would be so hopeless in Harrods food store.  I'd probably get dragged out of there, crying "HOW MUCH?" and looking aghast.

Just look at the Pimms and the fruit salad - fair makes your mouth water!
Anyway, aside from all that, I made a wonderful fresh fruit salad for dessert using Canteloupe melon, strawberries, mango and pineapple.  With a dash of cream it was juicy lusciousness.

We washed it all down with a beautiful big jug full of Pimms with all the requisite amount of fruit, cucumber and fresh mint floating about amongst many ice cubes.  Mmmmmn, delicious!

Lemon and Herb .......... and Barbecue
So the next day dawned and in the course of the day, the method of cooking for our two Poussin must have changed around three or four times.  Successive changes in the weather and my frame of mind (largely caused by everything we'd tried to do that weekend being blown out the window) meant that by dinnertime, I had had about enough and really didn't care what happened to the blinking Poussin.

Lemon & Herb Poussin - with parsley & rosemary
Earlier in the day, I'd made up the Green Couscous (which is ordinarily gorgeous, but I discovered on this day that it doesn't like being made in advance) and spatchcocked the Poussin, marinading one in the lemon and herbs along with a dash of rapeseed oil and some seasoning - and the other in the aforesaid Mic's Chilli El Loco BBQ Sauce so they were all ready to be wrapped in tinfoil and oven baked for 10 minutes or so, before finishing on the barbecue.  Well, the rain took care of the barbecue, so they stayed in the oven.

Consequently, they are a little under coloured but were nice enough.  I don't think I could choose between them as to which one was my favourite, as they were both very different and very nice in their own way.

I was a little disappointed in them though, as I expected the meat to be so much softer, or sweeter, than an ordinary chicken - which it wasn't.  There really wasn't much difference, which makes me wonder why anyone goes to the bother of utilising baby chickens.

However, one thing I will pay attention to - and that is that I won't be cooking Poussin again in a hurry.  Those little rib bones just completely creeped me out!  Who knew they would do that?  Bizarre.

So, you've probably read Chefs saying how cooking can really challenge a person?  Yup.  See above.

Before I go, a quick thank you to Knorr for providing all the above goodies and apologies for not making use of the Knorr Stockpots!  Still, I'm sure they will show up in recipes to come!


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