4 poussins (baby chickens), about 1-1/4 pounds each
1 small fresh or flash-frozen black truffle (about 1 ounce), cut into 1/16-inch or slightly thinner slices
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter: 4 tablespoons at room temperature, 2 tablespoons melted
Fleur de sel
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease a large shallow roasting pan.
- Rinse the poussins under cold running water; dry thoroughly inside and out with paper towels. Using your fingertips, carefully loosen the flesh over the breast of each chicken, working first from the tail end and then from the neck; be careful not to tear the skin. Using one-quarter of the truffle slices for each bird, lift up the skin and carefully arrange the slices over the breast meat. Season the chickens inside and out with salt and pepper, rubbing the seasonings into the skin. Rub 1 tablespoon of the softened butter generously over each bird. Tie the legs of each chicken together with kitchen twine.
- Arrange the poussins in the prepared roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Baste with the melted butter and roast for about 5 minutes longer. Baste the birds with the pan juices. Roast for about 10 minutes longer, basting once more, until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh registers 175°F (80°C) on an instant-read thermometer. Cover the poussins loosely with foil and let rest in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer the poussins to plates and set out a small bowl of fleur de sel for individual sprinkling.
To make a pan sauce for the poussin, transfer the birds to a platter, cover with foil, and set aside in a warm place. Spoon off most of the fat from the juices in the roasting pan. Set the pan over low heat and add 1/3 cup dry white wine, stirring to release the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and boil, stirring once or twice, just to cook off the alcohol. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves and stir until the butter is melted. Pour into a small pitcher and serve.
Makes 4 servings.