I’ve recently been cooking a lot with guinea fowl, as it’s so juicy and full of flavour. I traditionally have pan roasted the breast, but the leg has so much meat on it that I wanted to find a way to make it the star of the show.
Another recent obsession of mine is black garlic, so this recipe combines them perfect. Use ordinary garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar as an alternative if you can get your hands on any, but believe me – it’s worth it!
Confit is a style of cooking that you see mentioned on all sorts of TV programmes and fancy restaurants, but what is it? To confit is to simply cook slowly in fat (traditionally, it is in the fat of the bird itself – duck, goose, etc – but really, who has time for that?!), and allow it to contain as much flavour and juiciness as possible. I choose to use olive oil, as it’s an essential everybody has at home and is flavoursome in its own right. This method of cooking works brilliantly with leg meat, as it helps to retain all of the flavour.
This recipe can easily be adapted for other poultry.
1 1/2 cups olive oil
2 guinea fowl legs, whole and with skin
4 x cloves of black garlic, crushed (it can be difficult as they’re so moist and squishy, but bash them around a bit to help release the flavour)
a handful of fresh chives and parsley sprigs, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
- pre-heat the oven to 120ºc (if you’re not using a fan oven, increase slightly to 130).
- your guinea fowl legs should be relatively easy to butcher from the bird – if you feel the joints with your fingers, you should be able to find the weakest spot to chop. if it makes you squeamish, ask your butcher to help you out! i like to french trim the bones of my guinea fowl legs, as it makes them more presentable and discards what you don’t need. start about 2 inches down from the top of the bone, and use a small, sharp knife to score around it. then, using the knife, scrape downwards along the bone to remove the sinew. after a couple of minutes of work, you should be left with clean bone.
- pop the legs in an ovenproof dish and pour over the olive oil. add the garlic cloves and herbs (i scatter some of the herbs over the meat itself). season generously and pop in the oven uncovered for 2 1/2 hours.
- remove and set aside to drain for 5 minutes on a wire rack. the skin should be pretty crispy, but if you want a little more crunch then heat a tbsp of the cooking oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and fry the legs skin side down for a couple of minutes.
- time to eat!