Friday, September 27

A Casserole of Guinea Fowl, Beer & Violet Garlic

There is a fantastic greengrocers in Clifton Village (, they always seem to stock the most inspiring seasonal produce when other shops veer towards the mundane - why aren't all greengrocers like this? 

Unusually I shopped for the vegetables first before deciding on what protein to cook, and this is the result. Cracking baby English parsnips and bunched rainbow carrots, dew dropped cavalo nero and massive cloves of purple tinged French garlic - it had to be an autumnal casserole. I was sort of inspired by that old-school recipe for chicken with forty cloves of garlic. The long slow cooking renders the garlic to a mellow background flavour and the same is true here - don't be put off by the quantity.

Most guinea fowl is farmed these days so not really classed as game. It does however have a great flavour - my wife will only eat breast meat and as she succinctly put it: "It has the flavour of chicken thigh meat, but without having to eat the legs". Strange girl - for two:

A guinea fowl
A bottle of good dark beer - I used Bath Ales 'Barnsey'
10 baby carrots - washed, top and tailed
8 baby parsnips - washed, top and tailed
a handful of baby potatoes
1 small leek - cleaned and cut into 1 inch chunks
8 massive cloves of violet garlic - peeled
Chicken stock - 500ml
Double cream - 200ml
Dijon - 1 tbsp
Chives - a small bunch, chopped

Joint the bird into two breasts, thighs and drumsticks - or get your butcher to do this. In a dry pan, fry the guinea fowl pieces skin side down until golden then transfer to a casserole dish. Chuck the garlic into the pan and gently fry until golden taking care not to burn. Add this to the casserole along with the vegetables, beer and chicken stock. Season well then lid on and into the oven at 160c for 2 to 3 hours until the meat is falling off the bone.

Gently remove the meat and vegetables from the sauce and arrange on a serving dish, cover and keep warm.  Strain the sauce into a wide pan and pick out the garlic cloves. Chuck any remaining bits from the sieve in the bit then push the garlic through the sieve into the sauce. Add the cream, mustard and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Check the seasoning and add the chives. Pour the sauce over the guinea fowl and vegetables and serve with crusty bread and blanched buttered greens.

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