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Poussin/Baby Chicken - with Plums, in a Chinese style
Although not strictly Chinese, this is an East meets West dish that's easy to make and ideal for a dinner party – serving is easy, giving you plenty of time for your guests.
It's a dish that can be expanded as you require or just done for yourself.
The little chicken are excellent served with good-quality tagliatelle, tossed with a little butter or olive oil plus a few Chinese leaves tossed with the tiniest amount (¼ teaspoon) of Sesame Oil.
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For each poussin:
1 teaspoon (5ml) Chinese Five Spice Powder - see www.gourmetherbs.co.uk (http://www.gourmetherbs.co.uk)
1 teaspoon (5ml) Vegetable Oil
3 Fresh Plums, halved and stoned
1 tablespoon (15ml) Dry Sherry
1 tablespoon (15ml) Vegetable or Chicken Stock (this can be saved from vegetables you've cooked, or made with a tiny corner of a stock cube)
1 rounded teaspoon (5ml) Honey
a little Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper
1. Mix the five spice powder and oil together and rub it all over the bird/birds. Leave this to soak in for at least half an hour - all day (while you go to work) if necessary.
2. When ready to cook, heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and cook the poussin for 15 minutes.
3. After this time, add the stoned plums, sherry and stock to the pan, scrapping any caramelised residue from the bottom of the pan as you go - this will add both colour and flavour. Return the pan to the heat for a further 30 minutes, or until a small sharp knife inserted into the thickest part of the poussin thigh produces clear (rather than pink) juices.
4. Put the whole dish on a gentle heat on top of the stove, add the honey and salt and pepper to taste.