Grilled sumac poussin with chickpeas

20 April 2017 by
First published: 28 June 2016

Impress dinner guests with this grilled sumac poussin with chickpeas recipe…

Poussin, or baby chicken, is a great alternative if you don’t want to cook a whole chicken. Most butchers have it these days (and can spatchcock it for you), although chicken drumsticks and thighs would be an alternative. We marinate the poussin with sumac and olive oil and then drizzle a bit of pomegranate molasses over the top once it’s cooked. This adds a wonderful sharpness to the smoky, grilled meat. The sweet tang of pomegranate vinaigrette is the perfect accompaniment.


 Ingredients (serves 4)

For the poussin:

4 poussins, spatchcocked

1tbsp sumac

4 garlic cloves, crushed

Grated zest of 1 lemon

100ml/3½fl oz olive oil

4 thyme sprigs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the salad:

500g cooked or tinned chickpeas

2 spring onions, finely sliced

2 pomegranates, deseeded

1tbsp olive oil

200g rocket

Juice of 1 lemon

2tbsp pomegranate molasses

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the pomegranate dressing:

4tbsp olive oil

50ml pomegranate molasses

1tbsp red wine vinegar





Place the poussin in a large shallow bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, except the salt, and turn the poussin until it is coated in the marinade. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate in the fridge for two to six hours.

Meanwhile, in another large bowl, mix the chickpeas, spring onions, pomegranate seeds and olive oil together. Set aside.

Take the poussins out the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat a chargrill pan, griddle pan or barbecue.

Once the poussins have come up to room temperature, place them skin-side down on the hot chargrill or barbecue. After a few minutes, gently begin to lift one of them from the surface: if it moves easily then shift them a little on the grill to brown more of the skin.

When the poussins are well browned on the skin-side, flip them over and either move them to a slightly cooler part of the grill or barbecue and cover with a large lid or put them in an ovenproof pan or dish and place in a hot oven, skin-side up. Cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the poussins are cooked through and the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat.

Remove the poussins from the heat, cover loosely with foil and leave them to rest for five minutes.

Add the rocket leaves to the rest of the salad ingredients, squeeze the lemon juice over and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and arrange the salad on serving plates.

Cut each bird into four pieces, first removing the legs then halving each of the remaining pieces through the centre of the breast. Place the pieces on top of the salad and drizzle some extra pomegranate molasses over the whole dish, then serve.

To make the pomegranate dressing, whisk the olive oil and pomegranate molasses together in a bowl, then add the vinegar and whisk again. Add salt to taste.

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Grilled sumac poussin with chickpeas
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