Baby Roast Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts
On a wintry day, the combination of roast chicken and Brussels sprouts with potato and pancetta is great comfort food. Poussins are readily available at speciality butcher’s shops and good supermarkets. You could easily make the dish successfully with boned chicken breasts.
- 2 extra-large poussins (approximately 380–400g each)
- 500g Brussels sprouts
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 150g butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 250ml chicken stock
- 100ml cream
- 3 tablespoons lighter-style olive oil
- 12 small new potatoes (Jersey Benne or Marabel)
- 100g pancetta, cut into lardons
- 100g cooked chestnuts
To prepare the chickens, first take out the wishbones, then take both the breast and leg off one side, keeping them joined together. Remove the thigh bones so that you have four halves of chicken, partly boned.
Remove and discard the outer leaves from eight Brussels sprouts. Blanch the sprouts for 6–7 minutes in salted boiling water and refresh in ice-cold water. Cut in half and set aside for serving. Take the remaining sprouts and slice for the purée.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Sweat the onion in 100g of the butter and a little olive oil, without colouring. Make sure the onion is cooked through. Once the onion is soft and sweet, add the sliced Brussels sprouts and continue to sweat for a further 5 minutes. Add 200ml of the chicken stock and finally the cream. Purée in a blender and pour into a saucepan for reheating later.
In an ovenproof pan, fry the chicken skin side down in the light olive oil for 2–3 minutes. In the oven, continue to cook the chicken skin side down for
7 minutes. (If your pan is not ovenproof, seal the other side of the chicken
for 2 minutes, then transfer to a hot oven tray and cook skin side up for
7 minutes in the oven.) Keep the pan that you sealed or cooked the chicken in to use for the garnish.
Peel the new potatoes and parboil in salted water until nearly cooked
(approximately 10 minutes). Remove from water and fluff slightly by shaking them around in a colander. While the poussin is resting, reheat the pan that the poussin was cooked in and fry the potatoes until golden in the oil that remains in the pan. Finish with the remaining 50g butter, the pancetta, chestnuts and the blanched Brussels sprouts. Deglaze with
the remaining chicken stock to make a sauce.
To serve, heat the sprout purée and spoon onto plates. Place a little mound of sprouts and potatoes on the purée with the poussin on top. Drizzle sauce over.
Jo Burzynska MA AIWS
Wine editor - Viva, New Zealand Herald
Author of Wine Class: All you need to know about wine in New Zealand (Random House)
Seresin Marlborough Chardonnay 2008
Spinyback Nelson Chardonnay 2009