Grilled Guinea Fowl with Braised Chestnuts

The appreciation of chestnuts came to me only recently. They are rather sweet and a nuisance to shell. Luckily they are now available vacuum packed. Their flavour marries well with spices like mace and nutmeg in pheasant or guinea fowl dishes.

Ingredients

  • 2 × 2 lb (900 g) guinea fowl
  • groundnut oil

Braised chestnuts

  • 8 peeled chestnuts
  • 12 pickling onions, peeled
  • 12 small carrots, peeled
  • 2 rashers streaky bacon
  • ½ teaspoon ground mace
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 fl oz (50 ml) sieved tomato (passata)
  • 2 fl oz (50 ml) red wine
  • a sprig of fresh thyme

Method

The Birds

  1. Divide the guinea fowl into breast fillets and legs. Chop the carcasses in two.
  2. Remove the skin from the breasts and lightly bat them out between sheets of cling film. You don’t need to bat them until they are thin but just until they are of even thickness. This is because you will want to grill them until they are just done but still moist and juicy inside rather than having the edges overcooked and dry and the thicker, shoulder area undercooked.
  3. Brush with oil and refrigerate until later.

The braised chestnuts

  • Heat a heavy casserole and fry the guinea fowl carcasses and legs, onions, carrots and bacon in 2 tablespoons groundnut oil until they start to colour.
  • Add mace, salt and pepper, then stir in the sieved tomato -sold commercially as passata – and red wine. Pour in 7 fl oz (200 ml) of cold water and bring to the boil.
  • Cut the chestnuts into quarters and add, with the thyme. Cover with a lid and cook these ingredients either in a moderate oven at 3 50°F (18o°C) Gas 4, or over a low heat, for about half an hour.

To Complete

  • Fish out the vegetables, chestnuts and any tender, cooked leg meat. Put these into a clean saucepan and strain the cooking liquors over them.
  • Season the oiled breasts and grill them, preferably on a charcoal barbecue. They will cook quickly, 7 or 8 minutes.
  • Serve the grilled breast against the braised chestnut and vegetables.
Loading
Loading
Loading