Pappardelle with Guinea Fowl

I often use hare in the following recipe, but when this is not sold, between March and July, guinea fowl is a good substitute. This is an ideal recipe for using up the legs if you have made a dish for two with the breasts. Pappardelle are broad flat noodles which when cooked wind and fold themselves around a chunky meat sauce, as in this dish, basedloosely on a traditional Tuscan one. If you cannot get or make pappardelle, tagliatelle or fettuccine can be substituted.

Ingredients

  • 2 guinea fowl legs
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 150 mls (¼ pint) red wine or chicken stock
  • 25-40 g (1-1½ oz) dark chocolate
  • sprig or two of fresh marjoram or pinch of dried oregano
  • 50 g (2 oz) seedless raisins
  • 50 g (2 oz) pine nuts – optional
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Method

Strip the meat from the bones, and dice it. Fry the vegetables in the olive oil until wilted. Raise the heat, add the meat, and brown it briefly. Add the wine or stock, the chocolate and the herbs. Simmer for about 40 minutes, uncovered, until the meat is tender and the sauce reduced. Stir in the raisins and pine nuts and cook for a few minutes to let the flavours mingle, and finally add the dash of balsamic vinegar. Stir the sauce into the freshly cooked and drained pasta. It is this last ingredient which leads me to describe the dish as being loosely based on a Tuscan classic. In Tuscany a red wine vinegar would be used; balsamic vinegar comes from over the Apennines in Emilia Romagna. The deep, fruity complexity is a perfect counterpoint to the chocolate, however.

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