April is the cruelest month for weather.
One second you’re shedding layers in the sun, and the very same evening you’re sat outside in arctic conditions, clutching an ice-cold pint, wishing you’d worn your thermal leggings and running skins to the pub.
So on that account, I’ve made the most of a guinea fowl, to create two recipes. The first is confit leg with simple balsamic tomatoes, perfect for an outside lunch in the April sunshine. The other, a warming broth with crispy breast meat for when the night draws in.
Stock (makes around 400ml):
Guinea fowl x 1
White onions (roughly diced) x 2
Garlic cloves (smashed) x 2
Bay leaves x 2
Lemond wedge x 1
Sherry x 50ml
Fresh thyme x 1 large handful
Boiled water x 1.2L
Confit Leg (serves 2):
Guinea legs x 2
Duck fat x 200g
Fresh thyme x 5 sprigs
Fresh rosemary x 5 sprigs
Garlic cloves x 2
Large tomatoes (halved) x 6
Balsamic vinegar x 2 tbsp
Worcestershire sauce x 2 tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil
Rye or wholemeal sourdough (toasted) x 2 large slices
Broth (serves 2):
Guinea breasts x 2
Guinea stock x 300ml
Large carrots (peeled) x 2
Celeriac x 1/2
Chickpeas x 400g
Fresh mint x 1 small handful
Using a sharp knife, and treating it like a chicken, remove the legs and breast meat neatly away from the carcass. Set aside or freeze, if you plan to make a certain recipe later. Check out Into the wild for a bit more guidance if you need it.
Roughly break the carcass up into five or six pieces, and fry with a good glug of oil along with the onion and garlic. Keep the heat on medium until everything is well browned. After about 10 minutes, you can add the sherry and reduce until almost evaporated. Add the rest of the stock ingredients. Season well.
Cover and leave on a low heat to simmer, for at least two hours, or until reduced to about 400ml.
Sieve and leave to cool.
Confit leg of guinea fowl with balsamic tomatoes
Set your oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C. Take a medium size ovenproof dish, and pour the duck fat over the legs with the herbs and garlic.
Place in the oven for a 1 & 1/2 hours.
In the meantime, place the tomatoes in another dish. Season and drizzle over the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
Remove the legs from the fat, and place on a baking tray. Turn the oven up to 200°C (fan)/220°C. Cook the tomatoes on one shelf, for 15 minutes. Then place your legs on another shelf for another 10 minutes, or until perfectly crispy.
Remove both, and leave the legs to rest for five minutes. Lightly smash up the tomatoes. Serve with some toasted sourdough, drizzled in some extra virgin olive oil.
Guinea fowl broth with root vegetables
Salt the breasts on the skin side. Leave in the fridge for at least two hours but no longer than 24.
Set your oven to 140°C (fan)/160°C. In an ovenproof dish, simply cover the vegetables and chickpeas with the stock. Cover, and leave for 2 hours.
In the meantime, wash the breasts under cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper, before seasoning them well with more salt and black pepper.
In a splash of oil or a knob of butter, gently fry the breasts on the skin side over a medium heat for eight minutes. Flip over, and continue frying on a high heat for four minutes. Remove and allow to rest for at least five minutes.
Slice and serve on top of the broth with some mint leaves, if you like.