Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Guinea fowl with chestnuts and bacon cooked in a rich white wine sauce with shallots is such a comforting dish and it's simple enough to make too.
Perfect for a special meal or a weeknight dinner, this dish is so versatile and needs no special skill.
About this dish
In France guinea fowl is readily available, even at the local supermarket.
In fact it is often eaten at Christmas as French people don't do huge turkey dinners, preferring lots of courses. If you haven't tried it before it is very similar to chicken, but a bit gamier with perhaps a slightly stronger taste. It can be dry, as it is not a fat bird, which means it's perfect for cooking in a casserole.
If you are looking to try game birds, this is a perfect introduction to a new flavour.
What are the ingredients?
- 4 legs of drumstick and thigh
- 12 shallots
- smoked bacon lardons or smoked bacon diced
- peeled chestnuts
- dry white wine - I used a sauvignon blanc
- chicken stock
- all purpose flour
- a bouquet garni or mixed dried herbs such as parsley, thyme, bay leaves
How to make this dish
I used chestnuts from foraging last year that I had frozen but you can buy ready prepared ones in tins or vacuum packed. There's no need to chop.
Start by frying the guinea fowl in butter and oil for a few minutes each side until well coloured.
Transfer the meat to a large casserole dish. I prefer to use a large shallow one as this means the meat skin keeps golden and crispy.
Fry the shallots, bacon and chestnuts in the remaining butter and oil for a few minutes until coloured. Transfer to the casserole dish with a slotted spoon.
There should be lots of buttery juices in the pan so tip in some flour over a medium heat and cook for a minute before gradually adding the chicken stock and dry white wine.
Bring the sauce to the boil, whilst stirring until it thickens and pour into the dish and around the meat.
It will seem quite thick, but will thin out as the onions and meat cooks.
Pop in a bouquet garni. Cover and cook for one and a half hours until the meat is tender at 170C/325F.
Don't forget to remove the bouquet garni before serving.
Check the seasoning and serve in stew bowls.
The meat will be tender and juicy in a rich sauce flavoured by the bacon.
Grab a fork and enjoy!
You can use any poultry joints on the bone, such as chicken thighs, pheasant portions or duck legs. If you wanted to use chicken breast then reduce the cooking time or it will become stringy and dry.
A French bouquet garni is simply a way of getting the flavour of herbs into a dish without leaving the herbs in the finished dish for presentation.
They can be made from fresh or dried herbs and, although you can often buy them, they are easy to make at home.
For dried herbs tie a square of muslin with string filled with sprigs of thyme, a bay leaf and and parsley. If the herbs are fresh just tie them together with a piece of string.
Sprinkle over some chopped parsley and serve with some crispy roast potatoes.
What's your favourite winter warmer?
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Guinea Fowl with Chestnuts and Bacon
- 4 guinea fowl legs
- 12 shallots peeled
- 200 g smoked lardons
- 150 g prepared chestnuts
- 1 bouquet garni or 1tsp mixed dried herbs
- 150 ml dry white wine
- 450 ml chicken stock
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp flour
- seasoning to taste
- Chopped parsley to serve optional
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F.
- Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and brown the guinea fowl for a few minutes each side and transfer to a lidded casserole.
- Add the shallots, bacon and chestnuts to the pan ands fry until golden and transfer to the dish with a slotted spoon.
- Stir in the flour to the butter and cook for a minute before adding the wine and stock to make a thick sauce. Season to taste.
- Transfer the sauce to the dish and add the bouquet garni before covering and cooking for 1h 30mins or until the meat is tender.
- Sprinkle with parsley to serve.