2000s Recipes + Menus

Grilled Herbed Poussins

  • Active time:15 min
  • Start to finish:35 min
July 2008
An herb paste smeared onto these birds adds a concentrated taste of summer; this works nicely with the poussins, since they’re small enough to cook through before the herbs can threaten to burn.
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 poussins (1 to 1 1/4 lb each) or small Cornish hens, backbones cut out and birds split in half
  • Blend together herbs, oil, garlic, 1 Tbsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in a blender until finely chopped, then rub all over poussins.
  • Prepare grill for indirect-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas); see “Grilling Procedure.”
  • Oil grill rack, then grill poussins, skin sides down first, directly over coals, turning once, until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Move poussins to area with no coals underneath and grill, covered, until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer poussins to a platter and let stand 10 minutes.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Poussins can be rubbed with herb paste 1 day ahead and chilled.
  • To cook poussins indoors, brown them as above in a hot large ridged grill pan over medium-high heat, then cover with an inverted roasting pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 18 minutes.
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