Guinea Fowl with an Anchovy and Rosemary Sauce

Guinea fowl have a fine texture but can taste bland. Here they are enhanced by the wonderful combination of rosemary and anchovies.

Anchovies are one of my favourite flavourings; they add not only salt but much more, and dissolved in a creamy sauce in this way no fishiness at all.

Ingredients

  • 1.1-1.35 kg/2½-3 lb leeks
  • 1.1-1.35 kg/2½-3 lb small potatoes
  • 5-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 guinea fowl
  • 50 g/2 oz tin anchovy fillets
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 300 ml/½ pint double cream
  • 300 ml/½ pint full cream milk
  • 2 good sprigs fresh rosemary
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Wash and peel the leeks, cut them across in roughly 5cm/2in pieces and put in a large, deep roasting pan. Peel the potatoes and cut them across in fairly thick slices. Arrange the potato slices among the leeks and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Drizzle the olive oil and sherry vinegar over the top, then lay the guinea fowl on the mixture, smearing the birds with a little more olive oil and sprinkling them with salt and pepper. Now cover the roasting pan with 2 layers of foil, pressing it securely around the edges. Put the roasting pan on the centre shelf of the oven for 1¾ hours, taking the foil off for the last 15 minutes.

While the guinea fowl are cooking, empty the anchovies and their oil into a small saucepan and stir constantly over a gentle heat until the anchovies disintegrate completely to a purée. Remove from the heat.

Now peel the garlic and put the cloves into the saucepan with the cream and milk. Stir together and add the rosemary and a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Put the pan back over the heat, bring just up to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer as gently as possible for about 25 minutes, stirring often, until the garlic cloves are very soft and the creamy mixture is the thickness of a pouring sauce. When the sauce is ready, pour it through a sieve into another saucepan, rubbing it with a spoon to press the garlic and anchovies through and discarding the rosemary. Stir and keep on one side.

Just before you are ready to eat, reheat the sauce and pour it into a serving jug. Put the guinea fowl on a carving board. Remove the leeks and potatoes from the roasting pan with a slotted spatula and put them in a serving bowl. Put the roasting pan over a high heat and boil up the juices for 2-3 minutes, until reduced by about half, then pour them over the vegetables. As you carve the guinea fowl on to individual plates, pour some of the cream sauce over the slices.

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