Whole Deep-Fried Poussin Recipe

1 hour 30 minutes



  • 2 poussin, corn-fed
  • 3l sunflower oil, or vegetable oil

Buttermilk brine

  • 1l skimmed milk
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tsp flaky sea salt

Seasoned flour coating

  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tbsp of plain flour
  • 1 tbsp of oregano, dried
  • 1 tbsp of thyme, dried
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper, cracked

Potato wedges

  • 750g of Maris Piper potatoes, skin scrubbed then cut into neat equal quarters
  • 3 tbsp of rapeseed oil

Tarragon mayonnaise

  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 200ml of rapeseed oil
  • 1 bunch of tarragon leaves, (small) chopped
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • salt
  • pepper


To begin, make the buttermilk brine by combining the skimmed milk with the lemon juice and salt into a bowl and whisk together for 5 minutes. The milk will curdle but that is fine – the main point here is to incorporate the salt
Place your poussin in the bowl, cover with cling film and place in the fridge. The minimum time to marinate or brine your poussin would be 4 hours but it is good to leave overnight. Return every now and then to turn the poussin over
When ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Place a large saucepan of water on the hob to bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the potato wedges and simmer for just 5 minutes, then pour into a colander in the sink and leave the potatoes to steam for another 5 minutes
Take the poussin out of the buttermilk brine and stand them upright (cavity facing down) in a sieve or colander over a bowl and leave to drain
Meanwhile, take a large roasting tray, add the rapeseed oil and pour in the wedges. Toss around to get a good even coating, add a touch of salt and pepper over the top and place in the oven. Check on them every 15 minutes or so to shake and move about. All in all, the wedges will take 45 minutes
To make the tarragon mayonnaise, place a small bowl on top of a wet kitchen towel or tea towel (this is to stabilise the bowl) and add the yolk and mustard. Whisk together until everything becomes creamy then very slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking all the while. Keep going until everything starts to thicken and emulsify until all the oil is gone
Add the chopped tarragon and a squeeze of lemon juice, folding everything in with a spoon. Season to taste, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge
To coat the poussin for frying, combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and crack the eggs in another bowl, beating lightly to combine. Roll the poussin around in the egg wash so that it gets a light coating and then dump them in the flour bowl, again, ensuring they get an even coating all round. Set aside on a plate so they are good to go
If using a fryer, heat the oil to 180°C. If you are using a stock pot, like I do, pour in the sunflower oil and place over a high heat on the hob, using your biggest burner. Keep an eye on proceedings by using a temperature probe, waiting until it reaches 180°C
When ready, carefully drop both poussin into the oil and deep-fry for 15–20 mins, turning the poussin around occasionally. To make sure that they are cooked through, use that temperature probe and take a reading from the thigh – it needs to have an internal temperature between 72°C–75°C – if it’s not quite there you may need to pop them back into the pot
Before serving, place both the poussin and wedges on kitchen paper to remove excess oil, then slice each poussin straight down the middle with a sharp knife. Set each half on a plate with a generous scoop of wedges by the side and finish with an equally lavish blob of tarragon mayonnaise, straight from the fridge