Roast guinea fowl on celeriac, pear & satsuma salad with watercress

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Preparation info

  • For

    3-4

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey

Fusion

By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

It’s amazing that we don’t eat more Guinea fowl. You cook them exactly as you would a chicken, which they generally have more flavour than, and they’re not hugely expensive. You can feed 3-4 people from your average bird, so perhaps it’s more a budgetary thing when you consider you can buy a large battery-reared chicken for much less - much less flavour, too, mind you. Guinea fowl are native to Africa but it was the Portuguese who brought them to Europe from their colony in Guinea around the 16th century, and they’ve been reared in Europe since - the French being particularly fond of the young ones which they call pintadeaux. The Romans were also known to be partial to them and there are images of them in ancient Egyptian art. The brown meat from the legs benefits from being slowly poached, so I like to cook them separate to the breasts, which I roast on the crown. The braised celeriac salad is a modern-classic dish from muzedechanga restaurant in Istanbul which the gorgeous Tarik and Savas run, alongside their changa restaurant. At muzedechanga they have reinvented their mothers’ and aunties’ recipes, creating delicious dishes from often simple vegetables and basic ingredients. Visit them in summer, sit on their terrace overlooking the Bosphorus and think how lucky you are. The celeriac salad is best made at least the day before as its flavour slowly develops.

Ingredients

  • 1 guinea fowl (around 1.6-2 kg)
  • 1 onion, peeled and thickly sliced
  • ½ lemon, cut into 4, skin and all
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 50 ml soy sauce
  • a small handful of thyme
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large banana shallots, peeled and sliced into rings (or 1 white onion)
  • 1 medium-sized celeriac, peeled and cut into 2-cm chunks
  • 2 pears
  • 2 satsumas, cut in half crossways, then each half cut into 8 (or use seedless clementines or oranges that aren’t too bitter)
  • 50 ml lemon juice
  • 50 ml satsuma juice
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for roasting the bird
  • a bunch of watercress, washed, excess stalks discarded

Method

Cut the legs and thighs from the carcass, then cut them in half at the knee joint and place in a 1-litre pan. Add the sliced onion, the cut lemon, coriander seeds, soy sauce and thyme. Cover with cold water by 1 cm. Place on high heat, bring to the boil, then simmer with a lid on the pot for 1 hour. Leave to cool in the pot.

While the legs are cooking prepare your braised celeriac. Heat a medium-sized pot and add the oil then the sliced banana shallots and 1 teaspoon flaky salt, and sauté, without colouring, until wilted. Add the celeriac and stir well, then put a lid on the pot and cook over low-moderate heat, stirring every few minutes, for 12 minutes. Cut the pears into quarters, remove the seeds and stalk and cut each quarter into four, add these to the celeriac along with the satsumas, lemon juice, satsuma juice and extra virgin olive oil. Stir well, place a paper cartouche on top of the mixture, put the lid back on and cook for 15-20 minutes, until you can insert a knife through the celeriac with a little resistance. Leave to cool in the pot then taste for seasoning and, if making in advance, store covered in the fridge.

Turn the oven to 170°C. Rinse the inside of the carcass with cold water, pat dry with kitchen paper and lightly season it. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the carcass, sprinkle with salt and rub it in. Line a roasting dish with aluminium foil and sit the carcass in - sitting on its wings with the breasts facing up. Pour 100 ml hot water into the dish and place in the centre of the oven to roast for 25 minutes. Take from the oven and fold the aluminium foil over the bird to keep it warm while it rests.

To Serve

Pull the meat from the poached legs, discarding bones, then cut or shred into pieces and mix with the watercress and place on your plates. The celeriac salad is best eaten at room temperature, but if serving this in winter you may want to warm it up gently before plating up. Carve the breasts off the carcass and serve alongside the salads, drizzling any roasting-pan juices over as you do so.