Breast of Guinea Fowl, Leeks and ChampagneApril 11, 2014 by Jean-Claude Tissot
The Guinea Fowl is indigenous to the African continent. It is speculated that the birds were originally domesticated as a means of controlling agricultural pests and eventually evolved into part of the livestock. Their introduction into western culture took place during the height of the Roman Empire as merchants traveled from the northern African coast to the heart of Europe, trading the birds for other goods. Guinea fowl have beautiful speckled or pearl-like plumage and were a common subject for artists from across the Mediterranean and Europe. The Guinea fowl made its debut in the New World in the 1500s upon the arrival of Spanish explorers.
These one- to four-pound birds are from the family “Phasianidae,” which also includes pheasants, grouse, quail, and chickens. Unlike chicken, and more akin to grouse or pheasant, the guinea hen has flesh that is dark, dry, and with a slightly gamy flavor. A classical cooking technique is to add fat in the form of bacon or lardons during the cooking process to offset the dryness of the meat. It is common to hear that the flavor is like a cross between that of a chicken and that of a turkey.
- 2 breasts of Guinea Fowl, skin on
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 100g (4oz) butter
- 2 leeks (whites only, thinly sliced, and washed)
- 26g (1oz) olive oil
- 200ml (3/4 cup) of Champagne Brut
- 10cl (3.5oz) veal stock
- 1 teaspoon Meaux mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 215C (420F) degrees.
- Place saute pan over medium low heat and add butter.
- Allow butter to melt completely melt. Avoid burning.
- Add shallots and leeks and lightly saute until leeks are translucent.
- Lightly rub olive oil over Guinea Fowl breasts and liberally season with salt and pepper.
- Place breasts (skin-side up) in saute pan, place into preheated oven, and roast for 10 minutes.
- Turn breasts over (skin-side down) and roast for additional three minutes.
- Carefully remove saute pan with breasts from oven and deglaze with Champagne.
- Remove breasts and set aside to rest.
- Add veal stock to saute pan and reduce liquid volume by half.
- Stir in mustard.
- Using sharp knife, slice each breast on bias.
- Serve with roasted potatoes, mushrooms, or polenta.