Poussins aux Herbes et à la Moutarde (Broiled Baby Chickens or Cornish Hens with Herbs and Mustard)
Courtesy of Richard Grausman
A poulet grillé à la diable is a grilled chicken coated with mustard and bread crumbs. I have always found the result too dry, and, in fact, classically this dish is served with a sauce (called sauce diable), which compensates for the dryness.
Instead of coating the chicken with bread crumbs, I use only mustard and a number of herbs normally found in a sauce diable, retaining much of the dish’s original character. The resulting moisture and tender chicken needs no sauce other than the simple pan juices.
A poussin is a tender and juice baby chicken weighing about one pound.. If not available, use a Cornish hen, or small broiling chicken.
Changing the herbs used or adding a touch of curry powder will lead to many variations, as will the use of Madeira or sherry in place of the white wine.
Serves 4 to 6
3 poussins or Cornish hens (about 1 pound each), split in half, rinsed, and patted dry
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tarragon
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons thyme
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
1. Place the chicken pieces skin side up in a roasting pan and spread half of the Dijon mustard over them. Sprinkle with half of the herbs and season with half the salt and pepper. Turn the pieces skin side down and repeat the seasoning process. (This can be done up to 12 hours in advance of cooking. Cover well and refrigerate.)
2. Preheat the broiler.
3. Place the hens 3 to 4 inches below the broiler, skin side down. When they have browned well on one side, 8 to 10 minutes, turn and broil on the other side, until well browned, about 7 minutes.
4. Deglaze the pan by adding the wine, tilting the pan, and stirring to loosen the caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Baste the pieces with the liquid and broil for an additional 1 to 2 minutes; the juices of the chicken should run clear when it is pierced with a fork. The alcohol in the wine will evaporate and may ignite, but the flames will cease in seconds.
5. Serve the chicken with some of the pan juices.
Thank You Richard!