As I mentioned in an earlier post, because of the amazing meat CSA we have with Applecheek Farm, we have been able to try a variety of meats, that we have never had the chance to eat before. Guinea Fowl is no exception. To learn more about Guinea Fowl and their status as watch-birds on the farm, please read this quick blurb from Applecheek.

I had never tasted a guinea fowl, let alone heard of one, until we were picking berries this summer , and were greeted by a flock of them, which at the time I thought were weird looking wild turkeys (hey, I am still growing into my status as a country girl)! So when I discovered that we got one in our CSA, I was absolutely intrigued.

I wanted to prepare a special “taste of Vermont” dinner for my aunt and uncle when they were visiting us for the first time back in October. So I took special care to choose a menu featuring the best local ingredients, including vegetables from our garden. I intended to save the guinea to enjoy for a special occasion, and their visit was perfect. I consulted one of my favorite cookbooks, Dishing Up Vermont: 145 Authentic Recipes from the Green Mountain State and found a recipe for Quail with Maple Onion Glaze. So I decided to tweak it to use with the guinea.

The dish was delicious, and the guinea fowl? One of my favorites. The taste is something like a cross between a chicken and a turkey – much more dark meat, which is what I like anyway. It was juicy and full of rich flavor, especially with the succulent sauce. I served it with pan roasted fingerling potatoes from our garden and a Maple Creme Caramel, which I will feature in a separate blog post soon.

This is a perfect dinner to serve to guests (probably feeds no more than 5-6 people with sides) and the leftovers and bones make a fabulous broth. If you don’t have access to guinea fowl in your area, I can suggest using quail (you will need 12 quail!) , like the original recipe, and I am sure it would be a perfect sauce to dress an autumn roast chicken or even a Thanksgiving turkey!

INGREDIENTS:

1 guinea fowl
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp dried thyme
2 TBS unsalted butter
3 TBS olive oil
1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup or dry white wine or local light beer (which is what I did) + ¼ cup
½ cup of pure maple syrup

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Rinse bird inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Season inside and out with salt, pepper and thyme. Heat 1 TBS of butter and 1 TBS of olive oil in a dutch oven until hot. Add the bird and brown on all sides, deglaze with ¼ cup of beer or wine. Place in the oven and roast with lid on for about 1 hour.
In a hot skillet, add remaining butter and olive oil. Saute the sliced onions, stirring constantly over medium heat, until onions are brown (about 10 minutes). Deglaze the pan with beer or wine. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Then add the maple and heat until the liquid thickens. Reserve and toss with the bird once cooked to serve. Serve immediately.