You may already know that a guinea fowl is called a pintade in France, and that the birds are so-named because they originally came from Africa. But maybe not. In any case, stay tuned for a nice and easy way to prepare guinea fowl — a dish that my wife Jan has made several times in the past, and that she made again today for Sunday lunch.
Our starting point is the book French Feasts, which I praised in Radio Free Daglan almost a year ago (“The fail-safe bunny,” April 23, 2011). At that time, I was describing our own variation on the book’s recipe for rabbit cooked in Riesling wine. As a reminder, here’s the book:
The guinea fowl recipe that Jan discovered was for pintade cooked with chou — or cabbage. Based on our experience so far, it’s easy to do, and delicious. The starting point is a guinea fowl, which is about the size of a small chicken or a large Cornish game hen (they have also been compared with partridge). Jan first browns the bird in a frying pan with a bit of duck fat for extra flavour. Here’s today’s bird, salted and peppered and browning away:
While this is happening, she assembles the other ingredients, including (not shown) sage leaves, a bit of chicken stock, and some white wine, as well as (shown below) chunks of carrots, lardons (strips of smoked bacon), and cabbage:
At this point, Jan places the browned pintade in a casserole or Dutch oven; today she used our yellow Le Creuset casserole (Le Creuset is an old French phrase meaning “the world’s heaviest and possibly most expensive pot”). Then she adds the lardons, cabbage and carrots, along with the bits of sage leaves, the wine and the stock. Then she cooks the mixture over fairly low heat for an hour, covered. Here it is, with the cover off temporarily:
Finally, we’re ready to serve. Today Jan served just the breast meat of the guinea fowl, saving the legs for lunch tomorrow. With the white meat came the cabbage and carrots, a nice helping of whipped potatoes, and some red currant jelly (which I think goes so well with all kinds of poultry). And here you have it:
But the fun didn’t stop there. Jan then took the scraps and the bones of the pintade, and boiled them for a while to make a stock. She’s found that the guinea fowl stock is a great addition to chicken soup. But not tonight, because we’re having duck soup for dinner. I know what you’re thinking: “And now…for something completely different!” Yep.