Guinea Fowl, Mead & Cider

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 60 mins

Many people associate cider with Brittany but another speciality Breton tipple is Chouchenn.This is a type of mead or hydromel; a honey based alcoholic drink. I decided to make a poultry dish using pintade or guinea fowl with these two Breton drinks as a base for the sauce. The addition of the sweet local shallots made the perfect melange of flavours. This dish is relatively inexpensive and quite easy to prepare. The rich flavours of the sauce are a perfect complement to the pintade.

Ingredients

I Guinea Fowl or Pintade, jointed into 4 portions. (If you buy this ready jointed then this will reduce the preparation time by about 10 minutes)
100g smoked streaky bacon cut into small strips – lardons fumes
4 shallots peeled and halved
1 tablespoon flour
100 ml Chouchenn
150 ml Breton bottled dry cider – Cidre Bouche Brut
Quarter of a chicken stock cube
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C
Fry the lardons in a large heavy based ovenproof pot until the fat begins to run. The pan should be just big enough to hold the joints in a single layer. I used a cast iron casserole.
Add the pintade joints and shallots, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and brown over a high heat, turning frequently to ensure even browning. Don’t worry that the lardons start to stick, just keep scraping them off the bottom with a wooden spoon and keep moving everything around until the skin on the fowl is golden.

Reduce the heat a little and sprinkle over the flour and stir around quickly.
You should now have a crunchy residue on the bottom of the pan.
Add the Chouchenn to deglaze the pan and stir around scraping the residue off the bottom until it is combines with the liquid to form a sauce.
Add the stock cube and cider and stir around until the stock cube is dissolved in the liquid.

Put the lid on the pan and place in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes.
Then take the lid off the pan and continue cooking uncovered so that the skin on the joints crisp up. There should enough liquid in the pan to come about a third of the way up the joints. You can add a little water at this point if it seems too dry.

As this dish has a rich sauce, serve with a simple staple, such as boiled rice, potatoes or pasta and fresh local vegetables. We served this with plain boiled three grain rice and cauliflower and broccoli mousse. (See separate recipe)
The rest of the cider washed this meal down nicely, too.

  • By Gill Walker
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