stuffed guinea fowl
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Mince pies used to be made with suet and it’s still used at times. Originally mincemeat did contain meat flavoured with dried fruit and spices and encased in pastry. Middle Eastern tradition adopted for Western Europe eventually dropped the meat contents along the way, but isn’t it in fact a shame?
Poultry, game birds and pork love sweet, fruity and spicy company. Ham cooked in Coca-Cola, chicken in chocolate sauce, duck with prunes or à l'Orange to name just a few classics. In fact possibly all meat marries sweet and fruity well – I once had an absolutely exquisite dish of rare beef with redcurrant sauce!
I’ve always wanted to have a go at these medieval flavours. Success - pork meat works so beautifully with the sweetness of dried fruit and rich spices like nutmeg and mace (mace is so wonderful) it could almost be a meal on its own. And then you slap it onto deboned, game-but-not-too-gamey guinea fowl, roll it up and roast not terribly long – truly great taste and flavours.
Guinea fowl can of course be replaced with duck or chicken. Ask your butcher to debone it – or have a stab yourself, it’s not as hard as you imagine.
stuffed guinea fowlServings: 4Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- 1 guinea fowl, boned
- salt and pepper
- softened butter for basting
- For the stuffing:
- 200g pork mince
- ½ small red onion, chopped finely
- 25g butter
- 10g pitted dates
- 10g raisins or sultanas
- 10g dried figs or apricots, or both
- 10g prunes
- 30ml port or sherry
- a small bunch of coriander, chopped
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground blade mace
- salt and pepper
- For the gravy:
- 1 tsp flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or redcurrant jelly
1. First prepare the stuffing: heat up the port or sherry until almost boiling and pour over the dried fruit. Leave it to soak for at least half an hour. Drain and chop the dates, the figs, apricots and prunes quite finely.
2. In a small skillet sweat the red onions with the butter until soft. Now mix thoroughly all the ingredients for the stuffing in a bowl, using your hands if necessary.
3. Spread the deboned fowl on a wooden board and season both sides with salt and pepper. Leave it skin side down and spread the stuffing all over the meat with a spoon.
4. Roll it up tightly from the shorter side, tidy up the ends so that as much skin covers the meat as possible and the stuffing doesn’t poke through too much. Secure it with butcher’s string, at least three times round around the width and string it up twice along the length. Spread a little butter on the skin.
5. Roast in an oven preheated to 180C/350F/gas 4, basting with the juices occasionally, for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the digital probe inserted into the thickest part reads 65C/150F. Remove from the oven and let it rest in a warm place at least 15 minutes.
6. For the gravy, place the roasting dish on the hob over low heat, bring to the boil and whisk in the flour. Pour in the stock, add the maple syrup or jelly, whisk well and cook down to the desired thickness. Don’t forget to pour in the resting juices.