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.)