Spiced Poussin with Saffron and Figs and Fragrant Couscous

Preparation time: 15 min Cooking time: 1 hr 15 min Cals per serving: 612


serves: 4
2 tbsp sunflower oil
6 small onions , peeled and quartered
2.5 cm (1 in) fresh root ginger piece, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds , crushed
large pinch saffron strands
1 tsp ground turmeric
cinnamon stick
2 poussins, about 350 g (12 oz) each
250 g pack ready-to-eat dried figs

for the couscous

150 ml (5 fl oz) reserved liquid from the poussin (see above) or chicken or vegetable stock
250 g (9 oz) couscous
1 tsp harissa paste or 1 large red chilli , deseeded and left whole
50 g (2 oz) blanched almonds, toasted
50 g (2 oz) golden raisins chopped fresh
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint, to garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan oven/Gas Mark 5. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole large enough to hold the poussins side by side and fry the onions for about 10 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the ginger and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the coriander seeds, saffron, turmeric and cinnamon stick and fry together for a further 2 minutes.

2. Place the poussins in the casserole, breast-side down, and cook until lightly browned. Scatter the figs around and pour in 500 ml (17 fl oz) of boiling water. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, cover tightly and cook for 1 hour.The flesh of the poussins should be falling off the bone.

3. Lift the poussins, figs, onion and cinnamon stick from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon; discard the cinnamon stick. Place the poussins and figs in an ovenproof dish, then cover and keep warm in a low oven. Reserve the liquid to prepare the couscous.

4. Bring the cooking liquid from the poussins to the boil in a small pan. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the couscous, harissa and the almonds and raisins.

5. Cover with foil and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Fluff up the couscous grains with a fork and garnish with the herbs. Remember to remove the chilli, if using. Serve the poussins on a bed of couscous.

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