Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Roasted guinea fowl with braised leg, cauliflower cheese puree, chard and bluefoot mushrooms

This weeks recipe is something that I’ve had churning around my mind for ages in various forms. Because of the collaboration with the other bloggers in the past couple of weeks, I have had to wait to finally get round to cooking this, but this allowed me to develop the dish in my head and refine different elements. I’m really happy with how it finally turned out, and really can’t wait to make and eat it again!

There are no two ways about it, this dish is a major slog to prepare and takes ages, but it is truly worth it in my opinion. Each main part of the dish would make a nice meal on their own in the form of cauliflower cheese, roasted guinea fowl and a slow cooked guinea fowl broth, but by taking them a step further you end up with a load of flavours that work together really well. As usual, most of the parts can also be prepared way in advance, making it an option for when you’ve got friends around for dinner. All you need to do is quickly cook the crown and heat up the other ingredients. 

Guinea fowl is a delicious meat and is now even widely available from decent supermarkets. It is a great alternative to chicken with a stronger flavour, and it stays really moist when cooked on the bone. I’m not the world’s greatest poultry cook and I found it fairly easy to get right. Portioning the bird yourself is a good thing to get into, especially when chicken and duck in particular are so much cheaper as a whole. They also go way further and you end up with the carcass to make a decent stock with. I used to be quite intimidated by tackling a whole piece of meat like this, but once you get stuck in and have a bit of practice it is really quick to do. Removing the wishbone of whole birds is a really good idea if roasting on the bone. This makes taking the breasts off so much easier when cooked, which is especially needed when ready to plate up and everything is cooking at the same time. 

Getting the stacks made from the potatoes and shredded leg meat is a bit fiddley, but easier than it sounds with a bit of care. The key thing is making sure the components are all cold when constructing, as the butter holds everything together and the parma ham won’t slip everywhere. It’s nice to combine the slow cooked texture of the leg meat with the roasted breast to add another taste and texture to the dish. 

Serves 2


1 guinea fowl, wishbone removed, legs and wings cut off and kept
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
Olive oil

For the braised leg:

The legs from the guinea fowl
1 carrot, chopped
2 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 glass of dry white wine
1 ltr good chicken stock

And then:

4 slices parma ham
1 large maris piper potato
500 ml good chicken stock
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

For the cauliflower cheese puree:

1/4 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
500ml whole milk, or enough to cover the cauliflower
1 garlic clove, crushed
5 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp double cream
50g gruyere, finely grated

For the sauce: 

The wings and trimmings from the guinea fowl
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 shallot, finely chopped
5 sprigs thyme
80ml brandy
The drained liquid left after the legs have been braised, about 800ml
1 tbsp butter

For the chard:

3-4 large chard leaves, shredded, with large storks removed
1 tbsp butter
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped

For the mushrooms:

6 bluefoot mushrooms, trimmed 
1 tbsp butter
1/2 garlic clove, finely shopped
2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

Prepare the guinea fowl by carefully removing the wishbone at the back of the bird, leaving the breasts and skin as intact as possible. Cut off the legs and wings and trim the rest of the carcass until just the crown remains. Keep all the trimmings for the sauce later. 

Heat up a medium saucepan or skillet with a little olive oil to a medium-high heat. Season the legs and sear until well coloured on all sides. Remove from the pan, turn the heat down a little and add the carrots, shallot, garlic and thyme and fry for a couple of minutes until starting to caramelise. Pour in the white wine and allow to boil and reduce by half, then add the stock. Add the legs and the bay leaf back to the pan and bring to a simmer. Season well.  Turn to a medium-low heat, partially cover and allow to cook for 45 minutes. 

While the legs are cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients that will go into making the leg stacks. Peel the potato and cut it lengthways into slices the thickness of a pound coin. Using a circular object about an inch in diameter, carefully cut 8 round discs out of the slices. Put the potato discs into a small saucepan with the second measurement of stock, garlic, bay leaf and thyme and bring to the boil. Cook gently for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and allow to cool on a plate. 

When the legs are cooked, remove them from the cooking liquid and set aside to cool slightly. Drain the liquid and reserve for the sauce. When cool enough to handle, strip the meat from the bones and very finely shred. Place in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan then add to the leg meat with the parsley and seasoning. Mix well then taste and adjust if necessary. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge to cool down. 

When all the elements are cool, put 2 12” pieces of cling film onto the work surface. Place two pieces of parma ham on each, joined to form a rectangle with as few gaps and tears as possible. Form 6 tiny patties out of the leg meat, the same diameter as the potato rounds and twice as thick. Starting and ending with a piece of potato, stack the potato and meat patties so that you form one cylinder stack per person. Gently put a little pressure on each one to help stay together, but making sure that the potato and meat are the same diameter. Carefully roll each one with the two pieces of parma ham, using the cling film to help wrap tightly. Make sure there are no gaps for the filling to spill out of, then cover and refrigerate. 

To make the cauliflower cheese puree, put the milk, garlic and thyme into a medium saucepan with a good crack of black pepper and bring to the boil. Add the cauliflower and simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until tender. Drain the cauliflower and tip into a small food processor with the double cream, seasoning and gruyere. Blend really well, adding more cheese, cream and seasoning to balance the texture and taste. Pass through a fine sieve into a bowl and set aside to reheat later. 

For the sauce, put a large frying pan or skillet on a high heat with a little olive oil. Season the wings and trimmings and when the pan is hot, sear well on all sides until really coloured. Turn the heat down slightly and add the shallots, garlic and thyme, being careful not to burn, and fry for a minute. Add the brandy and flambe. When the flames have gone out, pour in the reserved cooking liquid from the guinea fowl legs and season again. Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid until thickened, dark and glossy. The texture of the liquid should coat the back of a spoon. Drain through a sieve into a clean pan and set aside. 

Pre-heat the oven to 200ÂșC (Fan).

Heat up a heavy frying pan to a high heat with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Season well then sear the guinea fowl crown quickly on all sides until golden brown. Remove to an oven tray and position so that the breasts are upwards. A small trivet of any spare root veg helps to sit the bird up if needed. Rub the butter over the top of the guinea fowl and put into the hot oven for 18 minutes, or until the juices run clear from the thickest part. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest. 

While the meat is resting, place the wrapped leg meat stacks onto a lined oven tray and put in the oven to crisp up for 5-6 minutes. 

This is also the time to cook the greens and mushrooms. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter each in two separate pans. When at a medium heat add the garlic to each and cook for a minute. Fry the chard and mushrooms in each pan for a couple of minutes until tender and cooked, seasoning as you go. A splash of water with the chard will help the cooking. Keep warm until time to plate up.

While the mushrooms and chard are cooking heat up the puree and sauce, finishing off the latter by stirring in the butter. 

Once rested for 8-10 minutes, carve the breasts from the guinea fowl. 

To plate up, spoon a large tablespoon of the cauliflower cheese puree onto each plate. Add the leg meat and potato stacks and some of the chard. Position the breasts on top, scatter over the mushrooms and spoon on some of the sauce. 

No comments:

Post a Comment