Fowl Play

The other day the local poultry shop had, slightly improbably, some nice-looking guinea fowl all ready to go and I had, even less probably, a free afternoon (how is it that holidays are just as busy as regular work weeks?). So what better way to kill a few hours than making something new?

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The recipe was based on a dish we saw Ash Mair do during one of our marathon UK Masterchef viewing sessions, though I left out the morcilla (Mrs Prick isn’t a fan): You’ve got a breast of guinea fowl on a potato rosti with a ballotine of same on some wilted cabbage and leeks with a white onion purée, all with a nice sherry and apple cider sauce. Came up pretty well, and I was very, very happy with the sauce, which was a reduction of the sherry-stock-apple cider braise used for the wings and thighs and involved a lot of slow cooking and skimming and straining. The white onion purée was a revelation as well; perhaps paradoxically I thinned it with some cream to get the right texture and de-power it somewhat lest it take over  the dish. Next time around, though, I’ll pack the ballotine a little more tightly and roast off the bird’s crown a little more gently.

The question of what to drink with the dish kicked off a minor debate on Twitter; ultimately we went with a nice ’08 Margan limited edition shiraz which worked well but may have been a bit too restrained in hindsight. In the end, I suspect a good Bordeaux would have been just the thing.

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14 Responses to Fowl Play

  1. TimT says:

    Good Sir Prick, for a moment there I thought you were talking about Guinea Pig, rather than fowl.

  2. Anon says:

    I’m glad you managed to do something useful with them. I was introduced to the guinea fowl nearly 30 years ago by some enterprising farmers who thought they’d be useful for eating bugs in amongst the crops – with the advantage that they could be eaten occasionally by the farmers (and me).

    In the end, they turned out to be immensely stupid with no self preservation gene – the foxes got the lot. The guinea fowl that is. So it’s a bird I am still to eat.

  3. Pogria says:

    I have never eaten Guinea Fowl. Not had the opportunity yet. I am waiting for the opportunity to swap a goose for a couple and then give them a try.

    I eat a lot of goose as I breed them myself. .For Christmas this year I cooked my goose the way Raymond Blanc cooked his on the series about him on SBS, it was pretty darn good. Although, I am glad I decided on making extra gravy as the juices need to sit for too long before you can seperate the fat from them. Besides, there is no such thing as too much gravy.

    My aim this year is to confit a whole goose. mmmmmmmmmmm

    Last season I confited(spelling?) eight Muscovy hindquarters and made duck bacon from the breasts. As you’ve said in an earlier post Mr Prick, making confit at home really is worth the effort.

    If the whole goose confit works, I will be in a whole new world of flavour nirvana. Goose isn’t the easiest bird to cook, but I love it.

    • chiefprick says:

      Pogria, that sounds delightful. If you breed your geese anywhere around NSW, we might have a chat as next Christmas approaches.

      • Dr Duck says:

        Pogria, I’m with the Prick, I’d be very interested in getting hold of a goose during the winter, or even better during autumn, when we may be able to barter a goose for some truffles?

      • Dr Duck says:

        Pogria, Senior’s moment in the last post, of course I meant spring!

    • Pogria says:

      Hello Prick and Dr Duck,
      I’m sure we can work out something. Mr Prick, I live five minutes South of Camden. An easy drive.
      Dr Duck, a truffle/goose swap is an extremely sound proposition! I have never eaten fresh truffle, only truffle oil. Don’t mock!

      Dr Duck, you were not wrong in your timing, mid to late Summer/early Autumn is actually the time for geese. Christmas goose in Australia usually means very young geese, but more usually, last season’s crop. I have 17 goslings going to the processor later this
      month.
      Geese are killed at 16-18 weeks. As they don’t start laying until late July/early August, the young are usually a couple or three weeks short of the optimum killing age at Christmas time.
      Geese are one of the few domestic animals that have not been able to be brought into line for consumption via breeding or Artificial Lighting methods. Stubborn little buggers!

      As an aside, don’t believe what Maggie Beer says in the Women’s Weekly. NO lover of goose would think of eating a nine month old bird. They are breeding by then and would only be good for soup.

      • Dr Duck says:

        That’s very interesting Pogria. Looks like geese and truffles work to a different rhythm! Truffles hit their straps in spring, with September being the optimum time. I’m just down the road in Goulburn, but my truffles come from a dear friend south of Braidwood. I have been thinking of doing a goose in winter for a while, perhaps my best option would be to have Christmas in July in March or April?

  4. Pogria says:

    Dr Duck,
    a lovely burnished goose filled with mashed potato stuffing and served with maple-roasted carrots, parsnips and apples, a bucket load of peas and a vat load of gravy is wonderful on the Easter table.

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