August 13th, 2012
Guinea fowl are a West African game bird that has been domesticated and farmed in Europe since the sixteenth century. They are a fairly mild tasting bird, with a flavour somewhere between chicken and partridge. These birds are foragers and unlike chicken, will happily root out bugs, performing good pest control around plants and vegetables without causing damage.
The butcher was doing a special offer last week – Guinea fowl for £3 each, so how could I resist…
Nutritionally, Guinea fowl are high in protein, vitamin B6, selenium and niacin – they are also low in cholesterol and fat. However, when cooking that does mean it’s normal to add fat for flavour to stop the bird drying out, just like other game.
Guinea fowl can be roasted like chicken, or braised in a casserole. I roasted mine with half a lemon, a small onion, 6 pieces of garlic, a knob of butter and a sprig of thyme stuffed inside, along with a little sea salt and cracked black pepper. I wrapped the bird in streaky bacon and poured a glass of red wine and a splash of red wine vinegar into the dish.
Heat the oven to full and reduce the temperature to 180ºC when the Guinea fowl goes in. Baste every 20 minutes and remove the bacon when it goes crispy, at about an hour. Put the bird back into the oven until the skin goes golden brown (20 – 30 minutes). You can check to see if it’s done by sticking a fork into the meat (in a couple of places) – the juices run clear when it’s cooked.
The lemon gave a wonderful citrus flavour to the meat and made the kitchen smell fantastic while cooking. Serve with seasonal vegetables (don’t forget to chop up the bacon to go with them) and do make gravy with the juices!
I washed my supper down with a glass of red, El Rastro, Tempranillo from Spain.