Pan Braised Poussin with Baby Leeks and Cous Cous
Chef Eric Ripert, inspired by the multi-cultural heritage of Marseille and his own childhood in the South of France—when sometimes no actual fish were caught during family fishing trips—shares his twist on a traditional bouillabaisse. Rather than the typical fish and shellfish, he adds poussin and serves it with cous cous, a North African-influenced variation on the grilled bread served alongside.
1. Wash the Poussin under cold water and pat dry. Remove the wings and save for stock. Cut the back out (reserving for stock) of the bird, and cut down the middle of the breast, splitting the bird in half. Cut down the natural seam of the halves separating the breasts and the legs.
2. Heat a deep medium sized pot over medium-high heat. Add canola oil. Season the Poussin with salt and pepper and sauté in the pot, skin side down until golden brown. Turn the Poussin and continue searing. Remove the Poussin from the pot once both sides are golden brown.
3. Reduce the heat slightly and add the sliced garlic, baby leeks, and fennel to the pot. Cook for 2 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomato paste, and cook lightly for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn on the bottom of the pan. Add the Pernod, then pour the chicken stock into the pot and add the Poussin back into the pot. Bring up to a very slow simmer, and add the saffron and cayenne. Season the liquid with salt and pepper, and slowly simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the Poussin is cooked through.
4. While the Poussin is cooking. Put the cous cous into a small bowl with the butter. Bring the water up to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Pour the boiling water over the cous cous, and cover with plastic wrap immediately. Let the cous cous steam for 5 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork. Adjust seasoning, and fold in the currants.
5. To plate, spoon a bed of cous cous in each serving bowl. Place one leg and one breast on each plate atop the cous cous. Garnish with the cooked vegetables. Pour the hot broth around the Poussin right before serving.
Chef Eric Ripert and designer Matthew Patrick Smyth have long been inspired by Marseille. See how their favorite details and memories create an unforgettable dining experience.