Thanksgiving: Poussin with White Truffle Butter

I love Thanksgiving – I especially love that I get to celebrate it twice, once in October (because I’m Canadian) and now in November (because I live in the US, with my American husband).  The traditions are different, and since it’s the two of us – we’ve made it what we want.  I recommend this meal for a special dinner, and it would be simple to make for a larger group.

I ordered 2 poussins from D’Artagnan, along with some truffle butters.  I cleaned the birds, let them and the butter come to room temperature, and thoroughly massaged the butter into the skin.  The beautiful thing about this dish, is that it’s only going to require 2 saute pans, one is used for roasting in the oven, it then is place on the stove while the birds rest so I can work on my sauce, the other pan will be used to slowly saute radishes (my favorite veggie.

Poussin with White Truffle Butter over Sauteed Radishes – 2 servings
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion
4 bay leaves
2 poussins, about 1 lb each
3 tablespoons white truffle butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock
10 radishes, trimmed and cleaned
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon freshly minced parsley
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup Chardonnay
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Spread the teaspoon of olive oil in a roasting dish, or large oven safe saute pan. Remove the peel from the onion, and cut 2-3/4inch rounds. Lay them in the oiled saute pan, season with salt and pepper, and top each one with 2 bay leaves. Set aside.

Rinse the poussin, and remove any quills that may be leftover. Cut the necks as close to the body as possible, and lay in the saute pan with the onions. People tend to forget the neck will lend lots of flavor to the sauce. Dry the poussin, and massage exterior with 1 tablespoon truffle butter per, season with salt and pepper. I prefer to use toothpicks to hold the legs and wings tightly onto the body so that you don’t have string to worry about, but in any case truss the bird how you like. Place each bird on top of an onion ring. Place the remaining 1 tablespoon of truffle butter in the pan, and 1/4 cup chicken stock. Let sit for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the birds in the oven, and roast for about 40 minutes, until juices run clear. Work on the radishes below, but opnce the poussins are done, remove from the oven, put birds and onions on a hot plate to rest, while finishing the radishes and sauce.

Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a saute pan, add radishes, and cook on low for about 15-20 minutes, swirling the radishes once in a while. Turn the heat up to medium-low, and saute radishes until evenly browned and softened like potatoes. Squeeze a touch of fresh lemon on radishes, add the parsley.

Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and 1/2 cup Chardonnay to the birds saute pan, and place over high heat. Allow to reduce to half, add 1/2 tablespoon butter, and strain. Halve the radishes, place 10 halves in the center of a warm dish, top with bird, spoon sauce over the bird. If you or your guests are onion lovers, you can place the onion rings around the bird, they have been soaking up all those delicious juices.

Serve with bread, and plenty of crisp white wine.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Cooking!


Soda Cupcakes with Malted Milk Buttercream

A friend asked for this recipe today, and I just realized it’s been sitting in my drafts. I hope they turn out perfectly for her Thanksgiving dinner. For some reason I can’t find a picture in my cooking folder, but if I whip up a batch in the near future, I’ll be sure to post it.

As for the soda – I recommend either Dr. Pepper or Root Beer – although a girlfriend tried this recipe with Vanilla Cherry Coke, and said it was amazing.

Soda Cupcakes with Malted Milk Frosting – 12 cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup extra fine sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup root beer + more for brushing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to fully incorporate and set aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle, cream together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, vegetable oil and extract, mixing until combined. Then add flour mixture, alternating with root beer, mixing until smooth.

Spoon batter into prepared tin, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, brush top of cupcakes lightly with root beer, and let dry while preparing the buttercream.

Malted Milk Buttercream
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
4 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons malt powder, such as Ovaltine
1/4 cup half & half
2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup malted milk balls, such as Whoppers, crushed or left whole, for decoration

Combine butter and milk chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, stir together the malt powder and half & half until malt powder is dissolved. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and milk mixture to saucepan and whisk until smooth and blended. If you prefer a thicker frosting, add an additional 1/2 cup powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Spread frosting over top of cupcake, and decorate as desired with whole or crushed malted milk balls.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Cooking!