Roasted Poussins with Cranberry Port Sauce

*Roasted Poussins with Cranberry Port Sauce*
Serves 8

A great entertaining dish, which is not only very elegant, but easy as most of the work can be done a day ahead of time.
Be warned however, that these need to be started the day before.

For the Poussins:
4 Poussins
4 tsp of finely chopped fresh sage
4 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 TBS unsalted butter, melted

For the Sauce:
2 cups low salt chicken broth
1/3 cup ruby port
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 TBS butter
1 TBS minced shallots
1 TBS flour
salt and black pepper to taste

First prepare the poussins.  Using poultry shears, remove the backbones, by cutting along both sides.  Set each half onto a cutting board and flatten by pressing down on the breast bone with your palms.  With a chef's knife, split each in two along the breast bone.  REmove the last two joints on each wing.  Discard any deposits of fat.  Arrange the poussin halves on a large rimmed baking sheet, so that they are not touching.  Sprinkle with the sage, thyme and 1 TBS of sea salt and 1 TBS freshly ground black pepper.  Rub this into the skin.  Refrigerate, uncovered over night.  Remove from the fridge one hour before you are ready to start cooking them.

Place the cranberries in a bowl.  Cover with the port.  Leave to macerate overnight.

The next day, about 45 minutes before you are ready to serve the poussins, pre-heat the oven to 220*C/450*F.  Brush the melted butter lightly over the poussins.  Roast in the heated oven for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfways through the cooking time.  Let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

While the poussins are roasting, make the sauce.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until tender.  Stir in the flour, and cook, whisking gently until it forms a thick paste.  Strain the port from the cranberries through a seive into the pan.  Whisk for about 30 seconds and then slowly whisk in the broth, adjusting the heat to maintain a steady simmer.  Simmer, whisking occasionally until the sauce is reduced by about one third.  This should take 5 to 8 minutes.  Stir in the reserved cranberries and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Keep warm.

Just before serving, pour any accumulated juices from the poussins into the sauce.  Serve the poussins drizzled with some of the sauce and pass any extra at the table.
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