Grilled chicken with garlic and lemon butter
4 chubby poussins
1 large lemon, juice only (reserve the zest for the butter)
3-4 small red or orange chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
For the herb butter
2-3 cloves young garlic, finely chopped
small handful of thyme, chopped
1 large lemon, zest only
Get the butcher to slit the poussins down the backbone and open the birds out flat. Sometimes I do it myself. You just need a large, heavy knife. Lay them in a shallow dish and pour a good three or four tablespoons of olive oil over them, then squeeze the lemon over. Chop the chillies finely, discarding the seeds, then peel and finely chop the garlic. Tip them in with the chicken and season generously with black pepper. Toss the chicken round in its dish, rubbing the oil and seasonings into the skin. Cover with a plate or cling film and set aside somewhere cool for at least a couple of hours.
To make the herb butter, peel the garlic and chop it very finely, then add it to the butter. Chop the thyme and mash it with the butter, lemon zest, garlic and some sea salt, then set aside. It is best to use it at room temperature rather than straight from the fridge.
Get the grill hot. Whether you are cooking the chicken over or under the heat, you will need the temperature set quite low so that the birds cook right through to the bones before the skin browns too much. Flattened, a healthy poussin should take about twenty to thirty minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. Turn it half way through.
Get a salad ready to go with the birds, preferably one with a good blob of mustard in the dressing.