Le Poussin en Surprise
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 cup light salad oil
- 1 (1 pound) baby chicken, boned with skin intact
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 ounces pork fat, cubed
- 1 medium onion, finely sliced
- 1 shallot, finely sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 ounces chicken livers, finely chopped
- Freshly ground salt, to taste
- Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup clarified butter
Combine marjoram, rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme and basil with salad oil in small pot. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Strain through fine sieve and discard herbs. Drown bird in oil and add wine. Marinate for 3 hours, refrigerated
Meanwhile, fry pork fat in heavy saucepan until mostly rendered. Remove and discard crisp fatty pieces. Add onion and shallot. Lower heat and add remaining thyme and bay leaf. Add chicken livers and cook until browned. Remove bay leaf and pass liver mixture through a meat grinder or sieve.
After bird has marinated, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Dry bird thoroughly inside and out with paper towels and place sieved 'pate' into rear cavity. Remold bird to its natural shape and secure both ends with poultry pins, then truss. Season bird with salt and white pepper, coat with clarified butter, and roast at 350 degrees F. for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned and tender. Remove from the oven.
Turn up oven to 450 degrees F. Cut 1 (20 by 18-inch) sheet of parchment paper in a heart shape. Grease well with clarified butter or oil. Place cooked chicken on one side of the heart, remove string and pins and enclose it in paper, pleating edges together to secure (use staples, if you have to!). Heat a little oil in large skillet and add parchment package. The air inside will expand, forcing the package to 'blow up'. When fully expanded, grease the outer surface and place in oven until lightly browned and remove immediately. To serve, open bag and cut bird in two.
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown