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Roast Guinea Fowl with sage and lemon mash

Our butcher had some guinea fowl on the counter and February is the month for a two person dish. This 1.2 kg bird gave enough for two people plus delicious sandwiches the following day.  Guinea fowl tastes like really flavoursome chicken so a good way to try out game birds with tastes that aren’t too unfamiliar. Don’t worry too much about the size of your bird, just follow the usual timings for roast chicken.

Wine suggestion: if you’d like a white wine seek out the Sartarelli Verdicchio Superiore Tralivio or for a red an earthy Pinot Noir like the Sylvain Loichet Cotes du Nuits Villages. Neither will disappoint.

Roast guinea fowl with sage & lemon mash – serves 2

  • 1 small guinea fowl, about 1kg
  • 1 onion, thickly sliced with the skin left on
  • ½ a small bunch of sage
  • 75g softened butter
  • 1 small lemon, zested
  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 350ml strong chicken stock
  • 350g floury potatoes peeled and cut in to large chunks
  • 2-3 tbsp cream/milk
  • 2 handfuls of watercress to serve

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put the onion in the bottom of a small roasting tin that will fit the guinea fowl snugly. Finely chop 5 sage leaves and mix with 50g of the butter, the lemon zest and seasoning. Push some of the butter mixture under the skin of the bird, then rub the rest all over. Stretch the bacon strips over the breast, then halve the zested lemon and put inside the cavity with the remaining sage. Place the bird on top of the onions and roast for 15 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and continue to roast for another 35-45 minutes or longer if your bird is bigger than 1kg. Check the bird is cooked by piercing the inside of the thigh and making sure the juices are clear.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and mash with the remaining butter and a splash of milk/cream.

Lift the bird onto a platter and keep warm. Scoop the lemon halves from the cavity and keep aside. Pour the roasting juice into a jug and leave to settle, the fat will rise to the top. Spoon 1 tbsp of the fat back into the tin. Put the tin over a low heat and stir in the flour. Gradually add the stock and any meat juices (discard the extra fat from the jug). Mash some of the reserved lemon pulp into the mash with some salt and pepper.

Carve the bird and serve with the lemon mash, gravy and watercress.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, February 2014.)

 

Roast Guinea Fowl with sage and lemon mash 2

 

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We made this as a Sunday night dinner for two and it is rich and packed full of flavour. Pheasant is appropriately in season in Ireland at the moment, as are apples, so a perfect choice.

Roast Pheasant with Apple and Calvados – to serve 2-3

  • 1 plump young pheasant, about 725-900g
  • 10g butter
  • 4-5 tbsp Calvados
  • 225ml cream or 125ml cream and 125ml chicken stock
  • 25g butter
  • 2 desserts apples

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.

Heat a casserole, just large enough to fit the pheasant. Season the cavity and spread the 10g of butter over the breast and leg. Place breast-side down in the casserole and allow to brown over a gentle heat, then turn over and season. Cover with a tight lid and cook for 40-45 minutes in the oven.

To check if it is cooked, poke a fork between the leg and the breast, the juices should be completely clear with no pink.Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm.

Carefully strain and de-grease the casserole juices. Bring to the boil, add the Calvados and carefully light with a match. Shake the pan and when the flames have gone out, add the cream (or stock and cream). Reduce by boiling until the sauce thickens, stirring now and then, taste for seasoning.

Peel, core and dice the apples and fry in the 25g of butter until golden. Carve the pheasant and arrange on a hot serving dish or on individual plates. Cover with the sauce and serve with the apple. We also had some colcannon on the side.

Wine Suggestion: You need a powerful and earthy red, balanced with good acidity for this dish. We drank a 2005 Cornu Corton-Bressandes Grand Cru 2005 on the inspiration of one of Jono’s customers who was looking for an opinion; we heartily endorse it as it had the depth and personality to stand up to the rich and powerful flavours with it’s own power, depth and freshness. Superb. Burgundy and game work really well.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2001.)

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