pan-roasted breast of guinea fowl, leg-meat croquettes, fondant potato, cavalo nero, charred leeks and guinea fowl jus

I really love this dish – I spent a considerable amount of time coming with ideas for cooking guinea fowl. I tried it for the first time last year and was pleasantly surprised – game meats are often slightly too rich for me, but this was juicy and flavoursome without being overpowering.

I wanted to try cooking the meat in several different ways also  as I’d bought the guinea fowl whole and wanted to get the most out of it, so I pan-roasted the breasts, used the leg meat to create small croquettes, and deep fried the skin. Side note – as you can see from the photo, the skin isn’t there!! In my panic, I managed to forget to add it on to the plate. However, I’ve included the steps and photos for making it as that extra crispy texture would add a great twist to the dish.

My recipe also requires you to butcher the whole guinea fowl. It’s a really great way to practice your butchering skills, as it is a little more delicate than a chicken so you have to be careful.

The croquettes take the longest to make as they involve cooling time, so you can actually prepare the day before and refrigerate overnight if you’re struggling for time.

1 x bird serves 2 people, so if you are serving 4 you’ll require 2 birds, and so on. I’ve written the recipe for 2 people as I only used 1 guinea fowl.

ingredients

1 x whole guinea fowl, plucked, washed and butchered

25g butter

100-125g cavalo nero, roughly sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

2 x leeks, cut into 1 inch slices

salt and pepper

pan-roasted breasts

2 x breasts, cut from the guinea fowl

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

leg-meat croquettes

2 x whole legs, butchered from the guinea fowl

2 x tbsp olive oil

4 x slices of proscuitto ham

1 x packet of white sauce – again, you can always make your own, but i only use to bind together the leg meat so i find this a quicker and easier alternative

1 x packet of panko breadcrumbs – you can always make your own, but panko breadcrumbs are large and create lots of texture

1 x egg

plain flour

salt and pepper

crispy skins

2 x breast skins

sunflower oil – it has a higher boiling temperature than olive oil and is best for deep frying

salt and pepper

fondant potatoes

100g butter

40ml chicken stock

2 x large potatoes, peeled – i used maris pipers

2 x garlic cloves, crushed

2 x sprigs fresh thyme

salt and pepper

guinea fowl jus

discarded guinea fowl meat, 2 x wings and leftover bones

1 tbsp olive oil

1 x onion, chopped

1 x carrot, chopped

1 x leek, chopped

600ml chicken stock

100ml white wine

2 x garlic cloves, crushed

2 x sprigs of thyme

2 x sprigs of parsley

seasoning

serves 2

method

  1. your guinea fowl should look as follows – 2 x breasts, 2 x legs and 2 x wings.blogpic1
  2. pre-heat your oven to 200ºc. put the guinea fowl legs on a baking tray, drizzle in olive oil and season. pop in the oven for approx 25 mins, or until the meat is no longer pink. once cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.blogpic2
  3. once the leg meat has cooled down, shred it from the bone. in a bowl, combine with shredded proscuitto and gradually add in white sauce, a spoonful at a time. mix until it reaches a “paste” like consistency. season to taste.
  4. roll the leg meat mixture into small balls. set out 3 bowls – 1 with plain flour, 1 with a beaten egg and 1 with panko breadcrumbs. dip the balls in to the flour, egg and breadcrumbs. repeat process if you feel they need more coating. leave in the fridge.
  5. next, fry the crispy skins. i’m gutted i missed this element off my plate! remove the skin from the guinea fowl breasts and leave the skins uncovered in the fridge for 2 hours or so to dry out.
  6. heat 2 inches of sunflower oil in medium, heavy-based sauce pan on a high heat. once the oil has reached approx 170ºc, use a slotted spoon to lower into the oil. once the skin has reached a golden colour, remove and lay on kitchen towels over a cooling rack. season and leave to cool.blogpic3
  7. set the oil in the pan aside as this can be re-used for frying your croquettes nearer to serving.
  8. next, make your jus. i would normally make the stock for a jus using only bones and meat, but there’s little leftover in this recipe so i use chicken stock instead of water to add a little extra depth.heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the onion, carrot and leek and leave to soften – approx 5 minutes. once soft, add the garlic, thyme and parsley and leave for another 2 minutes.
  9. Increase heat to medium-high and add the white wine. Once this has reduced by half, add the meat, bones and chicken stock. Leave for 1 hour.
  10. Remove from the pan and sieve liquid from the pan. Set aside – this liquid can later be reduced to make your sauce.
  11. to make your fondant potatoes, peel your potatoes and cut into a cylindrical shape using a cookie cutter. heat the butter of a medium heat in a wide-set saucepan. once it starts foaming, add the potatoes and leave to deep fry on one side for 5 minutes. do not turn them over or move them during this time. turn the potatoes over and leave to cook on the other side for 5 minutes, or until the potato turns a golden colour.
  12. carefully pour in the chicken stock – the fat in the pan will be very hot, so this will cause the liquid to splutter, please do take caution. also add in the garlic and thyme, and season to taste. cover the pan and reduce the heat so the liquid simmers.blogpic4
  13. simmer until the potatoes are tender – this should take no longer than 15-20 minutes. remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
  14. while your potatoes simmer, get started on the pan-roasted breasts. pre-heat the oven to 200ºc. heat olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and sear the outside of the breasts. remove from the hob and pop into the oven.they will not take long to cook at all and you do not want to dry them out – i would say no longer than 15 minutes before you remove from the oven.
  15. To reduce your stock to a jus, add to a wide set pan on a medium-high heat and leave. stir occasionally to ensure it’s not burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan. if this starts to happen, reduce heat slightly. you should notice over 15 minutes or so that the liquid thickens and reduces in quantity.
  16. to char the leeks, heat a griddle pan to medium-high and add olive oil. add the leeks sizzle in the pan until the soften and char marks appear. season to taste and remove from the heat.
  17. to cook the cavalo nero, add butter to a frying pan over a medium heat and add the cavalo nero. it doesn’t shrivel as quickly as traditional spinach, but you don’t want to over cook it, so leave to soften in the butter for a few minutes. season to taste and remove from the heat.
  18. re-heat the oil used to fry the skins back to 170ºc. use a slotted spoon to carefully lower the leg meat croquettes, and they should cook in approximate 3-4 minutes. once cooked, remove from the pan using the slotted spoon.
  19. your components should all be ready to plate up! plate how you like but i’ve included my photo for inspiration (it would look much better with that skin, though!)blogpic5

 

 

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