Guinea fowl has been known to be a favourite of the ancient Egyptians and was eaten by the Romans. However it was the Portuguese who brought it to Europe in the sixteenth century from their colony in Guinea, which gave it its name. Its popularity soon spread over most parts of Europe particularly in England so that rearing became important in order to satisfy demand.
Roast guinea fowl: Serves 4, cooking time of approximately 1 hour
- 2 small guinea fowl ( Keep the giblets to make the stock)
- 75g butter
- 80ml of olive oil
- 1 Carrot, 1 medium sized onion, 1 stick of celery and ¼ head of garlic with skin, 1 quartered tomato ( This is for the stock)
- Sprigs of tarragon
- 350g streaky dry smoked bacon rashers
- 400ml dry white wine
- 80ml sherry
- 200g seedless white seedless grapes,
- salt and pepper
- juice of a lemon
- Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
- Put 15g butter and a sprig of tarragon inside each guinea fowl. Melt 25g butter and brush liberally over the birds. Cover the breasts with streaky bacon and using some butchers string secure this to the birds.
- Put the olive oil in a roasting dish and warm it in the oven for about 5 mins before placing the bird breast side down with the giblets and returning it into the oven for 1 hour at 180˚. (Guinea fowl is a game bird and consequently it can be dry if not cooked carefully. I always place poultry breast side down for the first 15 mins of cooking as I find it helps keep the breasts nice and moist.) After 15 mins turn the birds over and baste and repeat basting every 15 mins. At the same time place around the fowl the stock vegetables and the reserved giblets. Remove the bacon for the last 20 minutes to allow the meat to brown.
- After an hour remove the guinea fowl from the oven and carve into joints.
- Pour most of the fat from the roasting tin, leaving all the residues with the vegetables and giblets, and then add the wine, sherry and 350ml of water. Boil through, and then add the guinea fowl and 150g grapes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- Cover and cook for about 15 minutes in the oven. Remove the joints from the sauce and place on a warm serving dish.
- Strain the sauce and stir in 25g butter. Pour over the birds and serve garnished with the remaining grapes