The title of this recipe sounds much better in Italian than in English: sweet and sour poussin sounds unpleasantly close to sweet and sour chicken, that vile battered aberration with the sickly, MSG-laden virulently red sauce in Chinese takeaways across the country. That said, Gordon Ramsay has a lovely sweet and sour poussin recipe: the poussin is roasted and served with a sauce made from red peppers and vinaigrette and served over tagliatelle. It is stunningly easy and remarkably tasty and most surprisingly, it pre-dates Gordon's attempts to reach out to the common cook, featuring in one of his earlier recipe collections. Jamie's recipe for pot-roasted poussin is quite different - in Jamie's words it is 'comforting, deep and dark'. Just the thing for a November Sunday evening, a twist on the traditional roast but with losing none of its trademark comfort.
Firstly, I stuffed each poussin with an orange quarter, half a cinnamon stick and a sprig of rosemary, before browning them lightly for 10 minutes or so on the hob and removing them to rest on a plate.
To make the sauce, I fried chopped onion, celery and rosemary in the pan that the poussins had been in until soft. Meanwhile, I blitzed sun dried tomatoes with Chianti in the Magimix. I returned the poussins to the pan, turning up the heat and adding vinegar and sultanas plus the mixture of tomato and red wine. After reducing the sauce slightly, I covered the pan and tranferred it to a preheated (200 C) oven to pot-roast for 30 minutes. At this stage I removed the lid, turned the poussins breast-side up and scattered them with pine nuts, before draping over strips of pancetta. I had used a pan that was border-line too small (it fitted the birds very, very snugly, almost too snugly) so I couldn't arrange my pancetta with much artistic dexterity - never mind! I returned the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes, lid off, until the pancetta had turned golden and crispy.
I served this dish with olive oil mash, another recipe from the book that I have previously made with steak - mash with olive oil and Parmesan which is as yummy as it sounds.