Friday, 12 November 2010

How to cook guinea fowl

I suspect that I am the only person I know who has woken up one November morning, felt the humidity and heat in the air and wondered "How do you cook guinea fowl?"

I didn't wonder this in a oh-life-is-so-interesting-let's-find-out-something-new sort of way or a I-am-a good-cook-let's-tackle-guinea-fowl-and-sock-it-to-Iron-Chef sort of way.

I was tired and I was grumpy. The children have been sick and both consequently and subsequently whingy, getting anything done has been difficult. I got spectacularly lost on Monday on my way to a meeting. I hate getting lost and I hate being late to things and it seemed to summarise my life in a nutshell rather than just reliance on poor maps. I admit to a tear or two trickling down my face as I looked at yet another roundabout in the middle of suburban Springfield that led to no-where and wasn't on Google maps.

Back to guinea fowl -- I woke at some dark hour with the smoke detectors going off. We've installed super detectors at the insistence of building inspectors from council and so far they have proven to be efficient detectors of humidity over 99% or heavy particulate matter in the atmosphere typically at the point of the night when you are deepest in sleep and most likely to have heart failure from synchronised alarm systems going off. They are synchronised because the electricians installed one and the inspectors insisted on another approximately one metre away so they can now tag team each other in the middle of the night.

When the adrenalin had subsided enough for me to sleep again, the guinea fowl started up. Our neighbours have acquired four of these things. The neighbours also believe in free range fowl. I have no problem with free range. In fact, I spend extra money to ensure that my eggs are thus. On a practical level though, I have discovered that free range is shorthand for "I'm not going to bother fencing my poultry in properly." I spend a lot of time chasing other people's free range animals out of my previously tidy, well-mulched and poop free yard.

These animals are noisy and stupid or at least manage to ignore people chasing them and cars attempting to reverse. It's likely that they will end up in my kitchen either accidentally or in a "she snapped one morning" sort of way. So I had better know how to cook them.

So far I have found:

- an upmarket roast guinea fowl recipe for a special occasion.

- a recipe for broiled guinea fowls beginning with "Pluck, singe and draw two or three Guinea fowls, wash them thoroughly, and split down the backs; wipe dry and flatten them slightly."

- Guinea fowl wrapped in pancetta or parma ham (because it is naturally drier than chicken)

- guinea fowl stuffed with sausage meat.

- guinea fowl baked with thirty cloves of garlic

- casserole of guinea fowl legs in red wine sauce

- a warm guinea fowl salad

- guinea fowl with red pepper marmalade sauce

- a duck, chicken and guinea fowl three bird roast

- pot-roasted guinea fowl with chestnut stuffing

- terrine of confited guinea fowl

… now I do have something to think about when I wake up early in the morning. What did people do in the days before the internet when they encountered unfamiliar wildlife that they wished to consume?


Vivi said...

In my experience with old cookbooks, in ye olden days, when people wanted to cook something they were unfamiliar with they either a) wrap it in bacon and roast and hope, or b) cut it into small pieces and throw in a stew pot with a bunch of other meat bits and veggies.

Not very exciting, and not very adventurous (since the meat in question would most likely taste like either a) bacon or b) all the rest of the stew). But it did cook the meat.

Blithe said...

I don't know this for a fact, but someone told me that guinea fowl flesh is blue. This might also account for the preponderance of heavy sauces and wrapping of bacon etc.

I think there must have been heavy doses of optimism going into much early cooking and a bit of "I don't know what that animal is, but it looks a bit like chicken so let's roast it."

Nancy Yauch said...

Warmest greetings Two Tree Hill. I have accidentally come across your blog - we have guineas and while my daughter was visiting she asked when we were going to eat one. So, I did a search on how to cook a guinea and wala your blog was one of the choices. I started reading it out loud and quickly became amused! I must tell you your writing is very witty, entertaining and as I said amusing. I love animals, have three grown kids and currently have a small farm and a husband of 37 years. I have never been much of a reader (more crafty) but I was so drawn into your blog I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed it and looked forward to reading more! Thanks, Nancy in Culpeper, Virginia