Guinea Fowl Cooked in Clay

Faraona alla Greta

Ingredients

  • 1 guinea fowl, weighing about kg/ lb
  • 4 slices Parma ham
  • butter
  • 2 sprigs each of sage, thyme and rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • clay (about 1.1 kg/ lb)

Method

About 1.1 kg/ lb of clay is needed to cover the bird. Make sure that the thickness of the clay is the same all round and that there are no holes or weak spots. Cooking in clay is a very old method of cooking.

In the mid 1960s, they were building houses in the village near us. Franco found a seam of clay and every day would go to fetch some to cook chickens and guinea fowl, or even quails, in this way. Clay can be bought from your local pottery–it is easier!

Dampen a sheet of rough brown wrapping paper place a sheet of greaseproof paper on top. Put the guinea fowl on the greaseproof, and stuff the bird with the herbs and a large knob of butter. Spread butter over the breast and thighs of the bird and wrap the four slices of Parma ham round it. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Parcel the bird up well, first the greaseproof, then the wrapping paper, and cover all over with a layer of clay about 1 cm/½ in thick.

Preheat the oven 250°C/475°F/gas 9. Put the guinea fowl on a roasting tray into the oven and cook for 2½ hours.

Remove the bird from the oven and break the clay with a hammer.