Guinea Fowl with Prosecco-Green Grape Sauce

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Ingredients

  • 7 tablespoons (100 g) butter, plus extra for sautéing the onions
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (-pound/1-kg) whole guinea fowl
  • 1 cup (250 ml) prosecco or dry white wine, plus a little extra
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • ounces (125 g) bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1⅔ cups (400 ml) chicken stock
  • Leaves of 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 handfuls seedless green grapes, halved

Method

Look, roasting a turkey is not that easy. Because of its size, different parts of the bird will cook differently. So after all your effort you’ll often end up with a dry turkey breast or undercooked legs. Why don’t you go easy on yourself and choose guinea fowl instead? They are a bit smaller than turkey, but if you have a table full of dinner guests you can simply cook two or three birds. The meat is nicely firm, they are easy to prepare, and by adding this succulent and tasty sauce you will make all family members happy. Including yourself.

Mash the butter with salt and pepper to taste. Thoroughly wash your hands. Then, starting at the bird’s neck, carefully slide your fingers in between the skin and the breast meat. Do this extremely carefully—take off any rings you may be wearing because the skin shouldn’t tear. If all goes well, you will have formed two pockets on either side of the breastbone. Press butter into these pockets and then spread the butter mixture evenly over the entire fowl by rubbing its skin on the outside. Sprinkle the outside with salt and pepper as well. Place in a buttered baking dish and pour a splash of prosecco all around.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) if you want to continue straightaway; otherwise, cover and store the fowl in the fridge until ready to roast. This can be done a day in advance.

Make the sauce: Melt a lump of butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, and bacon and fry, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion softens. Stir in the flour and cook everything together for another 2 minutes. Douse with the prosecco. Cook until reduced somewhat, pour in the stock, and add the thyme and bay leaf. If necessary, season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce. Two minutes before the end, add the grapes so they can warm up a little. Set aside until ready to serve.

If you prepared and refrigerated the guinea fowl in advance, remove it from the fridge so it can reach room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Roast the fowl for about 1 hour, until nicely golden brown. During roasting, baste the bird with its cooking liquid twice so it becomes extra juicy and delicious. After removing it from the oven, let the bird rest for 10 minutes, covered by a sheet of aluminum foil.

Slowly bring the sauce to a near boil. Pour half of it over the guinea fowl and serve the rest in a bowl on the side.