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Yes, I ate a baby chicken and no, I’m not sorry.

Dinner tonight comes thanks to douche-baggy pretty boy Tyler Florence’s Eat This Book: honey and soy glazed poussin with curried green apples.

I should state for the record that I have no real reason to believe that Tyler Florence is a douchebag. It’s just a feeling I have, but I’m pretty sure he’s That Guy. For example, this recipe comes from a section of the book called “devouring,” which contains a collection of recipes with no discernible theme, other than the fact that they’re all meant to be eaten. Other sections include Consuming, Tasting and Noshing and are equally motley. Why, Tyler? The recipes look pretty good; why don’t you want me to find them?

But his shrimp and grits recipe is the shit and his book was 50% off, so there you go.  I’m such an enabler.

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Wine on an empty stomach adds whole new layers of interest to simple cooking!

Brian is will “working” in the form of skipping out on 75% of a conference to visit every eatery in the New Orleans metro area, so this was a solo smackdown. When I ran to the store after work to get my ingredients I remembered that I hadn’t eaten all day*, so I picked up a baguette, some salume and an aged gouda to tide me over during cooking. (Crusty bread + aged gouda + honey = ruining my appetite.)

*I’ll give you 2 guesses as to how often I’m actually so busy that I forget to eat altogether, but I bet you’ll only need one.

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How do you like them apples? No really, what do you think? I’m of two minds.

I know apples are not currently the most seasonal of fruits, but the crisp curried apples sounded like they would be tasty with the sweet and salty poussin. Also, it’s hot today, we haven’t re-installed the AC units yet, and this involves no heat – just chopping.

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Go go Gadget Macro setting!

Diced apples go into a bowl with parley, fresh thyme, curry powder, salt, lime juice and maple syrup. Or honey, if you thought you had maple syrup but then discovered you were out and didn’t want to leave the house again to go find some.* Which is sad, because I was looking forward to its unlikely presence. Dark maple syrup is often my secret ingredient in savory dishes when I want a hit of sweetness with some depth but don’t want the sulphuriness of molasses. Don’t tell.

*Perhaps this is the case because your husband finished it and didn’t tell you, but we can only speculate. 

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Tyler Florence calls this a “sauce” even though it’s clearly a salad. Because he’s a douche.

I don’t know what it is about these ingredients, but they make magic happen. First, you heap them all in a bowl and they just sit there looking vaguely fresh and tasty. What else are they supposed to do? They’re produce.

Then you toss them together, and suddenly this gorgeous smell wafts out of the bowl and you wish you could turn it into a shower gel so you could douse yourself with it every morning without getting parsley bits in your hair. It’s sweet and tart and herbal, lightly fragrant from the curry powder – there’s just the right amount – and fresh. I set it aside to meld while I made the poussin, and knowing it was waiting for me made me excited to eat.

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This is the BIGGEST QUARTER IN THE WORLD.

I have to be honest and tell you that the original recipe called for squab. I’m normally very anal about following Smackdown recipes closely and tracking down accurate, quality ingredients. But I didn’t leave the office until almost 6:30, and the first two places I tried were all squabbed out. So I grabbed a poussin.

Secretly I was kinda glad, because I’m not really sure I want to eat something whose relatives attempt to shit on me from above on a daily basis.

Poussin is baby chicken. It’s sometimes called the “veal of chicken,” and it may also be the “new black.” It isn’t just a Cornish Hen; the birds are younger and smaller. They’re typically around 3 weeks old and weigh less than 1 pound. So you’re eating a baby chick, which I’m not sure I love, but it’s better than eating a flying rat.* I hacked the backbone out and cracked the breastbone so the bird would lay flat in the pan.

*I think. 

I fully admit that I have a strong anti-pigeon bias because one of their ilk successfully landed a enormous deuce on my head on my way to a job interview in 2004. Fucker.

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You’re getting very sleepy. You’re getting very sleepy. You’re not looking at my dirty stove. When I say “poussin” you will wake up, come to my house and clean my range.

The glaze on the bird doesn’t come from a marinade, nor is it brushed on during cooking: it’s made directly in the pan, and the poussin is laid into it. Butter and honey melt together over medium heat, and the salted and peppered bird goes in skin-side down. I put a sauce pan on top to keep the bird flat and ensure that as much skin as possible would stay in contact with the hot pan.

The honey was threatening to burn, so I turned the heat down and put my faith in Tyler “too cool for school” Florence. Which was not easy.

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And on Thursday I made the poussin; and all was good. Amen.

When I flipped the poussin over, the skin was a gorgeous mahogany. I brushed some soy over the bird and left it on the stove to finish cooking.

I’m not going to say that I like Tyler Florence any more as a person, but I started to trust him a little more at this point. If I saw him bleeding in the street, I would only laugh for a few seconds before I went to help.

Okay, maybe a few minutes. Point is, I would help eventually.

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If you imagine that I cut the apples into large chunks, this could be a mammoth turkey! But neither of those things is true.

In the end, this is a pretty simple dish with plenty of gorgeous color of its own, so I just heaped everything onto a plate and called it a night.

This was a great meal for a flying solo, lazy, warm night. The salad required little more than 2 minutes of chopping, and the poussin was done entirely on the stovetop and took a total of 20 minutes. The tart apple coupled with the lime and curry was quite bracing, and was a great counterpoint to the sweet-salty, moist poussin; the poussin was almost too delicate for the strongly flavored fruit, which is why Ty-Ty recommends the more richly-flavored squab. The poussin skin was crisp and flavorful.

I did feel like a tool eating the itty-bitty drumstick. So I decided to just go with it, and stuck my pinky finger out; unfortunately, I couldn’t locate my monocle. Then I realized I was sitting alone at my kitchen counter eating a 2-inch long drumstick with my pinky sticking out, which probably meant I looked like a tool. So I stopped. Also, I maybe ate a little too much bread and cheese, so I was actually too full to finish the whole bird.

The glaze-in-the-pan method is definitely one I’ll be going back to – it’s a quick way to create a flavorful dish, would lend itself to lots of different proteins, and I can already think of 10 different variations. The apples seems like they’d pair well with sweet barbecue dishes, and might be interesting cooked down and served with pork.

Tyler, I still disapprove of your precious chapter titles and sometimes I want to shoot spitballs at your head to watch them get lodged in your hair product, but you glaze a mean squab. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.