Poached Guinea Fowl with Broad Bean, Garlic, Pear & Fennel Salad

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Preparation info

  • For


    Main Courses
    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

This is a salad that can be served as either a main course or a starter. If the former, it should be eaten with roast new potatoes (or even mash) for a more filling meal. It can be served cold or the fowl, beans and garlic can be warmed in the poaching liquor and served on the pear salad. The flavours in this dish may seem to combine a bit of everything from all over the place but, trust me, it works. A succulent free-range chicken can be substituted for the more exotic guinea fowl.


  • 1 guinea fowl, about 1.6—2kg (3½–4½lb)
  • 1 head of garlic – pull the cloves apart but don’t bother to peel
  • 600ml (1 pint) dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 10cm (4in) piece of rosemary
  • Small bunch of oregano
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 leek, cut into 5 and washed
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 white onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 4 medium heads of fennel (trim the tops off and keep to use in the poaching liquor)
  • Salt
  • 3 cups podded broad beans (smaller are sweeter)
  • 50ml (fl oz) lemon juice
  • 2 sweet pears


Remove any packets of giblets from the bird and wash the cavity well. Tie the legs together to make it easier to manoeuvre in the pot. Put the next nine ingredients plus the fennel trimmings into a large pot - one that will comfortably hold the whole bird - and bring to the boil. Add the bird and pour in enough cold water to cover it by 6cm (2½in). Return to the boil, then turn to a rapid simmer and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Put a lid on and poach for 1 hour (don’t allow to boil as the flesh will toughen), turning the bird over after 30 minutes to ensure even cooking. After an hour push a sharp knife into the upper thigh - the meat should not be at all bloody or too pink. If not done, keep going. Turn the heat off and leave the bird to cool in the liquor.

At this point, ladle out 500ml (18fl oz) of the liquor and bring it to the boil in a pot. Add the broad beans and boil for 2—4 minutes (depending on their size) until a little firm to the teeth. When they’re cooked, drain and put in a bowl of cold water, then squeeze the beans from the skins and leave to one side. Holding the fennel flat on its side, cut it as finely as possible into ‘rings’ and mix them with the lemon juice to prevent discolouring. Peel and quarter the pears, removing the cores, and slice into small wedges; mix with the lemon juice as well.

When the bird has cooled, take it from the pot and cut off the legs. Remove the skin and pull the flesh from the body and legs – a knife may help, but it should come away easily. Break or cut the flesh into smallish chunks, discarding sinews and bones. Add 1 cup of the poaching liquor, mix well and taste for seasoning (it’ll probably need some salt). Remove the garlic cloves from the liquor, which can be strained and kept as a base for soups or laksas. Toss the garlic, broad beans, fennel and pear together and put on a plate. Place morsels of guinea fowl on top and serve.