Grilled poussin with harissa

Serves 4
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This dish works best when it is cooked on a barbecue. Season the meat the day before so that it is deeply flavourful, warm, spicy and rich. Harissa is a good match, its flavour punchy and hot.

4 poussins
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 dried red chilli
Sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Ask your butcher to spatchcock the birds, and place them in a large container. Put the spices, garlic, chilli and salt into a mortar and grind with a pestle until you have a rough paste, then stir in the olive oil. Rub this mix over the chickens, cover, and place in the fridge for 24 hours, removing an hour before you are ready to grill.

Heat your barbecue and, when the coals have died down, cook the chicken skin-side down for 15 minutes, moving it around every now and then so it doesn't brown too much in any one place. Turn and cook the underneath for a further 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

For the harissa

1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 red peppers
2 red onions
1 bunch of coriander
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried mint
2 red chillis, seeds removed and chopped
6 ripe plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
Sea salt
1 bunch of mint, leaves only
1 further bunch of coriander
1 bunch of basil, leaves only
11/2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
120ml/4fl oz extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Place the spices in the oven and warm through over a low heat. When warm, remove and pound together with a pestle and mortar. Remove the seeds from the peppers and chop into big chunks.

Peel and roughly chop the onions, wash the coriander and place all together into a roasting tray, adding the pounded spices, chopped garlic, dried mint, red chillis and tomatoes. Season with a good pinch of salt. Cover tightly with aluminium foil and place on the middle shelf of the oven for an hour, at which point the peppers and onion should be so soft that they are beginning to fall apart.

Remove, and allow to cool to room temperature. Place in a blender, along with the fresh herbs, vinegar and olive oil. Add a further pinch of salt and purée until almost smooth. This harissa will last for about three days in the fridge, after which it will not taste quite as vibrant. Spoon over the chicken just before serving.

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