Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Lemon And Orange Guinea Fowl

I've just noticed that it's 2018. I know I should be reviewing last year or predicting the trends for the months to come but it's as cold and grey as any self-respecting January should be and so here's a summery sort of recipe for cheering up dismal days. I've been told that guinea fowl is at its best in the depths of winter and so that's the perfect excuse for making it now. (Of course, I might have been misled - I frequently am).

There's a traditional way of cooking guinea fowl with lemon in the Roussillon and this recipe probably owes its origins to that tradition, but it's more directly inspired by dishes that turned up fairly often in England back in the 1980s and early 1990s in some of the better, unpretentious restaurants of those long-lost days.

These days I don't often use cream in sauces (or any recipes for that matter) but I make an exception here because it works so well. You could use chicken in this recipe if that's what you have and it would still be very delicious but the deeper, richer flavour of the guinea fowl is worth seeking out now and then.
Lemon & Orange Guinea Fowl
This will serve 2 -3.

1 guinea fowl
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp sugar
200 ml white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ medium orange
1 lemon (untreated), sliced fairly thinly
1 sprig of thyme
300 - 500 ml light chicken or guinea fowl stock (the amount will vary according to the size of your pan)
4 tbsp double cream

Joint the guinea fowl. You can divide the bird up as you'd like but, at very least, use the two legs and two breasts. If you're thoroughly organised you could use the remaining bones and meat of the guinea fowl as the basis of the stock that you need for this dish.

Use a reasonably generous, lidded pan that will hold all the guinea fowl pieces in one layer. Season the guinea fowl lightly and sauté in a little olive oil over a medium heat until lightly golden on all sides. Remove the pieces from the pan and set aside. Add the chopped shallot to the pan and fry gently for around 5 minutes without letting it colour. Increase the heat, add the sugar and stir for about 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and the juice of the lemon and orange. Bring to the boil and allow the liquid to reduce by about a third.

Lower the heat and put the guinea fowl pieces back into the pan together with the sliced lemon and the thyme. Pour in enough stock to almost cover the guinea fowl. Put the lid on the pan and simmer gently for 30 - 35 minutes. Turn the guinea fowl pieces once or twice during this time.

Remove the guinea fowl from the pan and set aside somewhere warm. Pour the remaining contents of the pan through a sieve, reserving the liquid but discarding the solids, although I tend to keep a slice or two of the cooked lemon for decoration (and to prove that I used real lemons, I suppose). Put the cooking liquid into a pan and reduce over a high heat. The amount that you reduce the liquid will depend on how much sauce you'd like in the final dish but reduce it by at least ½ and, I think, preferably by ¾. Take off the heat and whisk in the cream. Adjust the seasoning and add a little sugar if the sauce seems a bit too sharp.

I serve the guinea fowl with simple green veg and steamed or sautéed potatoes (the purple potatoes in the picture are pure affectation and the result of an ill-advised attempt to impress). Pour on as much or as little of the sauce as you fancy. I like quite a lot of sauce because I soak it up with slices of baguette but that's just my uncouth way.

Happy New Year.

7 comments:

  1. Phil, guinea fowl is not available anywhere in my area that I know of, but I'll definitely pick up chicken for this. Sounds very tasty, and I never object to a little cream. Or a lot of cream.

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    1. I've become so used to finding guinea fowl around that I tend to forget that they're much rarer than other birds. Personally, I think it's a shame that they're not more widely available if only because they can be so tasty. On the other hand, I do admit that they're not to everybody's taste, they're trickier to cook and more expensive than chickens and they're not the prettiest birds to have wandering around your yard.

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  2. PS I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed "the purple potatoes in the picture are pure affectation and the result of an ill-advised attempt to impress." You're such a hoot!

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  3. Our neighbour in Wales had guinea fowl, and they were always wandering in the road! Haven't seen any around here on the roads or in the shops! Will try this with chicken as I like new ideas for using it. Belated Happy New Year Phil.

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    1. Actually I've come across guinea fowl wandering around in the road more than once in Normandy but they're much easier to avoid than escaped quail in my experience. It seems that I'm lucky to have a ready supply of guinea fowl as long as I can spare the cash. I suppose it's a South-East England/London thing. We had an escaped crowned crane wandering along the road near here a few years ago. I suppose that's a South-East England thing too.

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  4. Our local duck farm in France also rear guinea fowl. They seem to me to be such comical birds, much more fun than the ducks - and very tasty! We have frequently bought it in our local Sainsbury's but thinking about it, I haven't seen it on sale for a while. You have reminded me to look out for some on my next pilgrimage to a a Waitrose!
    This recipe sounds delicious although we rarely use cream for anything these days. One of the problems being what do you do with the rest of the pot when you've used a few tablespoons for a sauce.......far too tempting to add it to my porridge so as not to waste it!

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    1. I totally agree about the problem of leftover cream. Personally, I crave scones whenever there's cream in the fridge and that's not good for me (or so I'm told). I'd like to say that I make the occasional pilgrimage to Waitrose but since my last house move the local branch is so close that I'm there often enough for people to think that I work there.

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