Grilled Coriander-Pepper Poussins with Leeks and Fennel
Poussins, which are young chickens, can be purchased from most butchers, but you may need to order them in advance. You can substitute Cornish game hens.
For the Poussins
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns, plus more to taste
- 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, stems only, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 lemons, halved, for garnish
- 3 fresh bay leaves, torn, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
- 4 poussins, halved
For the Vegetables
- 4 artichokes, trimmed, halved lengthwise, fuzzy chokes removed
- 2 fresh bay leaves, torn
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, cut into matchsticks and rinsed well (about 4 cups)
- 1 fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks (about 3 cups), fronds reserved for garnish
For the Poussins: Toast coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, shaking skillet occasionally. Crush coriander seeds, and combine with peppercorns and cilantro.
Whisk together oil, citrus zests and juices, bay leaves, salt, and 2 teaspoons coriander mixture in a nonreactive bowl. Rub over poussins. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. (Reserve remaining coriander mixture, refrigerated, for another use.)
Make the Vegetables: Place a steamer basket in a large pot filled with 2 inches water. Bring to a boil. Add artichokes and bay leaves; cover, and steam until just tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and fennel, and cook until just softened, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover, and cook until completely tender but not caramelized, about 30 minutes.
Preheat grill to medium-high. (If you are using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill for just 3 to 4 seconds.) Remove poussins from marinade, and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Grill poussins, flipping once, until skin is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part (avoiding the bone) registers 165, about 12 minutes per side. Grill the artichokes until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Grill the lemon halves, cut sides down, until marked, about 5 minutes.
Arrange poussins and artichokes on top of leeks and fennel. Garnish with fennel fronds, lemons, and bay leaves.