Gourmet Food Source
Taking its name from its country of origin, the Guinea coast of West Africa, the guinea fowl was originally a game bird until becoming domesticated in Britain and Europe over five hundred years ago.
Not as popular in the UK as it is in Europe, its saving grace, I suppose, is that like pigeon it is as close to a taste of game that we are going to get outside of the shooting season and, for us chefs a welcome break from the monotony of putting chicken on every menu.
Like pheasant, they grow to a decent size of up to 41b (1.8kg) and make an adequate meal for two. They can be cooked whole in a moderate oven for about 40 minutes per pound or 500g. In the restaurant I tend to separate the legs from the breasts and cook them separately, this way I can use the carcase to make enriching gravy knowing that the breasts will not be overcooked. Like other game birds they benefit from the inclusion of extra fat during the process, guinea fowl does have a tendency to dry out quite quickly so a rub of goose fat and/or butter along with a coating of protective bacon would not go amiss.
Donít be afraid to experiment with flavours outside of the usual poultry/game boundaries, I have paired guinea fowl with mild Thai flavours to great effect, chunks of meat gently simmering in a red curry are quite a treat. For the less adventurous pair guinea fowl with traditional chicken accompaniments.
Content and picture © Miles Collins