In Season Now … Poussin With Tarragon And White Wine Served With Classic French Potatoes Baked In Cream

A few days ago, a friend posted a recipe for garlic and truffle oil potato fries. It looked and sounded yummy that I thought I’d give it a go. Bought my truffle oil from the shop where I work then went to the supermarket to get some potatoes. I was thinking kipfler because I love the variety and that’s the one I always use for roasting. Next to the kipfler potatoes were a variety I have never seen before, kestrel potatoes. They have white skin with purple blush and the label says very versatile as they are excellent for roasting, frying, mashing, boiling and baking. What a super potato, I thought! Apparently, very tasty as well. I was convinced so I bought a bag of kestrel. As I make my way to the self-service check-out, all my favourite ingredients were on display as if trying to tempt me to buy them … tarragon, mushrooms, baby fennel. I gave in. Change of plans. It’s going to be a French cuisine night. Poussin (or spatchcock as we call it in Australia), mushrooms, baby fennel slices with white wine, lemon and tarragon. On the side, I am using the kestrel potatoes to make Gratin Dauphinois or classic French potatoes baked in cream.

I love this simple baked potatoes with just cream, butter and a bit of garlic. I learned that this particular recipe without cheese originated from Dauphine, a French region of mountains and forests that lies between Savoy and Provence. If you add cheese to the recipe, apparently it will become Gratin Savoyard. So, your choice really, if you want to indulge a bit more, add some cheese then. I used individual gratin dish to bake the potatoes but of course, you can bake them in a big dish if you prefer it that way.
 poussin with tarragon white wine sauce and potato gratin 1
poussin with tarragon white wine sauce and potato gratin 6


(Serves 2-3)


For the Gratin Dauphinois 

  • 2-3 medium kestrel potatoes (you can use charlotte or russet), peeled and mandolin or finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 300 ml thickened cream (or double cream)
  • 75 g unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese (if using)

For the poussin main dish

  • 2 poussin, each cut into quarters
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbs fresh tarragon leaves
  • juice of half lemon
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 baby fennel, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms
  1. Preheat oven to 190 C degrees.
  2. Rub 2-3 individual gratin dish with a split garlic clove and butter generously.
  3. Chop the garlic.
  4. Spread a layer of potatoes in the prepared dishes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with cream and sprinkle with little chopped garlic. Sprinkle cheese if using.
  5. Repeat the layering until all potatoes and garlic are used and potatoes are completely covered with cream. Dot with small bits of butter.
  6. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 200 C degrees and bake for further 10-15 minutes until potatoes have absorbed all the cream and the top has turned into a nice golden brown in color. Alternatively, you can finish them under a hot grill until golden brown.
  7. To make the poussin dish: Heat olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add the poussin pieces. Sautee until lightly golden, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from pan.
  8. Add garlic and tarragon until garlic softens but not burned, about a minute. Add white wine and lemon juice and bring to a simmer.
  9. Add poussin pieces to pan, turn heat to very and cook gently for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove poussin and keep warm. (I placed them under the grill over very low heat to make the skin a bit crispy.)
  11. Turn heat up and bring pan juice to boil. Reduce until jus thickens. You may need to add a splash of white wine. Add fennel and mushroom slices and cook for a minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Place poussin onto a large serving dish. Pour tarragon, fennel and mushroom sauce over poussin.

These poussin and potato gratin served together make one really delicious and enjoyable meal. Simple yet elegant flavours!

poussin with tarragon white wine sauce and potato gratin 2

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