Tag Archives: poussin

Roasted Chicken with Bacon and Mushroom Sauce

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am more inclined to think of a special dinner to make instead of which restaurant I’d like to visit.  I know.  Huge surprise.  It isn’t that I don’t enjoy eating out — we love to and have done so for years, choosing different restaurants each time just to see how many we can sample.

But it’s such a luxury to prepare a special meal for only two — something I rarely get to do.  The last time I went all out for Valentine’s Day, we still lived in our old house.  It was a beautiful California Ranch built in 1948 that only one other family had lived in before we arrived, constructed with gorgeous pegged oak flooring that had aged to a deep caramel color and was soft to the touch.  I used to hand wax it, believe it or not!  In the living room, there were enormous hand hewn beams that supported the roof and ceiling constructed of tongue and groove hand milled cedar.  The bricks that lined the large hearth were from antique foundries and varied in color and shape.  When there was a fire crackling in it, the room warmed to a golden color, and I could think of no place I’d rather be.

So I set up a table for two in front of the fireplace and made lobster and fennel napoleons to start, and individual beef wellingtons.  We enjoyed our dinner with a very dry bottle of Cabernet and candle light.  It was completely lovely.

But that was then.  As I said, it isn’t often that I get to take the time to pull something like that off.  Usually, I’m feeding more like ten or fifteen which isn’t exactly romantic.  It is fun though, and I’d truly enjoy it.

So where am I going with this?  Sharing.  That’s all.  Just passing on a suggestion for a great main course for Valentine’s Day.  I’ve tried this recipe twice just this past January– amazing in and of itself — and both times, it has turned out excellently to the ummmmms and whoooooaaaaaas of those lucky enough to sample it.
The recipe is one that comes from a source I’ve mentioned a few times in the last month — Saveur.  It’s not a challenging recipe at all, which is what makes it that much more amazing.  The first time I made it, a crowd was coming.  We were going to celebrate as an extended family after we returned from VA this past Christmas, so I wanted to prepare something delicious, but without all the fanfare of a traditional holiday meal.  “Poussins en Cocotte ‘Bonne Femme'” or “Poussins with Bacon and Mushroom Sauce” seemed perfect for the occasion.

Since I absolutely knew I wouldn’t be able to get poussins at any of my regular markets on that day and didn’t feel like searching elsewhere, I decided to use organic roasting chickens that I purchased at Trader Joe’s instead– three four to five pounders.  Using the basic directions for roasting chicken (convection roast at 325 degrees F 18-20 min. per pound — internal temp. 180 degrees F in thigh), I kept to the directions for the original recipe as closely as possible — even the searing.  And you haven’t seen anything until you’ve tried to sear three fat chickens in a roasting pan over four stove burners.  Suffice it to say that a sturdy wooden spoon shoved into each orifice of each bird gets the job done fairly well even if it was still a bit awkward!

The photographs are awful because I had left my Canon in VA and was waiting for my sister to ship it.  So much for my old HP digital!  The difference in picture quality between the two cameras is amazing.

The chickens turned out deliciously —  the meat was extremely tender and moist, and the sauce created in the pan was beyond amazing.  Truly excellent.  So good I knew I had to make the recipe in its original form — with the required poussins which I found at Whole Foods while cruising the meat counter one afternoon.

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