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Spring chicken with walnut and prune stuffing

Prepare to be dazzled by what the French call Crapauds farcis aux pruneaux et aux noix with its flavourful stuffing. Spring chickens, or poussins in France, often get overlooked, and prunes too are a bane to many school children. But, in this recipe, the two combine to create a classic dish from the southwest of France that will change your mind forever.

Ingredients: Serves 4

Stuffing:
15g/1/4oz butter
3 large French shallots, finely chopped
1 large clove Garlic, crushed
70g/1/2oz shelled and chopped walnuts
12 pitted prunes, chopped

4 Spring chickens/poussins
2 Bay leaves
8 rashers of streaky bacon
50g/2oz butter
40ml/2 tbsp honey
60ml/1/4 cup crème fraîche, or heavy cream
Juice of one lemon

Method

Stuffing:

Melt and combine the butter in a small pan, over medium heat, with the chopped shallots, cook until tender, about 10-15mins.

Add the garlic, cook for another minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the walnuts and prunes. Mix thoroughly, and allow the mixture to cool.

Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas 4.

Divide the stuffing evenly between the chickens, tuck in half a bay leaf first, and then fill the cavity with the stuffing mix.

Tie the legs together with kitchen string, and tuck the wing tips underneath, wrapping the bacon rashers around the breast area of each one to protect them.

Place the stuffed spring chickens in a small roasting pan.

Melt the butter, lemon juice, and honey in a small pan, then pour over the four spatchcocks before transferring them to the preheated oven. Roast for 45minutes, or until a thermometer reaches 75˚C/165˚F.

Remove the spatchcocks from the tray, keeping them covered and warm, and heat the roasting pan on a burner until the juices are bubbling hot.

Stir in the crème fraiche, and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, place the chickens on plates, and dress with the creamy sauce.

More prune dishes

Pork and prunes, simple to make and very tasty

Prunes and creams – so moreish!

Kit Smyth is a retired chef with a passion for French cuisine. Originally from Australia, Kit is dedicated to exploring both old and new ingredients, techniques and styles, and developing recipes for home cooks, she also teaches these recipes online and in-person. Find out more at her website: TheBiteLine

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