Here’s my twist on Jamie’s classic roast chicken recipe – if you can cook that, you can cook this!
It’s easy to master and I think you’ll find it really satisfying. Mixing it up a little extends your repertoire and I hope that it gives you the inspiration and confidence to keep experimenting with lovely ingredients and different techniques.
Originating in the jungles of Guinea in West Africa, this unusual little bird isn’t as gamy as pheasant (it’s not really a game bird), but it’s certainly has a deeper and richer flavour than chicken.
Guinea fowl is very lean and carries little fat, so it’s not as forgiving as chicken; it’s inclined to dry out easily if overcooked. The trick is to bard it before roasting (wrap with bacon) and/or baste it throughout cooking to keep it moist and juicy.
I chose to serve this roast with lemon thyme celeriac, cavelo nero (Italian black cabbage), roasted parsnips, dauphinoise potatoes, broccoli, gravy and redcurrant jelly, but of course you can choose whichever sides float your boat. It’s all about balance and variety for me. You could simply roast the bird with carrots, potatoes and garlic cloves as per Jamie’s roast chicken recipe.
Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan). This is relatively low, as guinea fowl is more delicate than chicken.
Top the bird with some thin slabs of butter and then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lay strips of bacon or pancetta over the top and then roast for around 60 minutes (15 minutes per 500g plus 15 minutes), until the juices run clear. The bird will then need a good 10 minutes to rest properly so once you’ve taken it out of the oven you can increase the temperature to finish your dauphinoise and parsnips whilst you make the gravy.
Dauphinoise potatoes are always a winner. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone that doesn’t adore them. Finely slice potatoes (a mandolin or food processor is ideal) and layer them into a buttered ovenproof dish, seasoning as you go. I often add a little minced garlic and thyme leaves along the way. Pour over a generous splash of double cream so that it can seep through the layers of potato, and then top with grated cheese and bake for about an hour.
The parsnips can simply be quartered, turned in olive oil and roasted in the oven alongside the guinea fowl and dauphinoise.
Jamie’s celeriac recipe works brilliantly with guinea fowl. Peel and cube a celeriac and then cook it in a covered pan for about 25 minutes over a low heat with a swig of olive oil, lemon thyme, salt and pepper.
Steam your greens for just a few minutes and dress them with a squeeze of lemon juice, flaky sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Keep the water from your steamer for the gravy.
To make a gravy whilst the guinea fowl rests, combine the roasting juices, some vegetable cooking water and a little redcurrant or quince jelly in a pan.
Sit down, fill your plates, fight over the crispy bacon and enjoy the rustic flavours with a warming glass of red wine.