with Chestnuts & Pear
This past Christmas I made this recipe using duck. This time I used a Guinea Fowl which is known as ‘Faraona’ in Italian. For a long time I just assumed a faraona was a type of chicken, until my butcher explained the difference – I then did a little research of my own and saw that it is indeed a Guinea Fowl. Guinea Fowl is a lovely gamey bird, without having intense, strong game flavours. You could stuff this bird without deboning it first but I love having it deboned and I’m lucky that my butcher does this for me. In the past he has deboned duck, legs of lamb and also rabbit for me. If you have the wings removed, you could definitely roll the guinea fowl up and tie it with kitchen string instead of stitching it the way I did. Rolling it may add for a prettier presentation once sliced but then you’d miss out on the therapeutic fun of stitching using the large butcher’s trussing needle.
The stuffing in this recipe is rich and a little sweet, but I think it works well with gamey meat such as this. It is also a well known fact that poultry, game birds and pork love sweet, fruity and spicy accompaniments. When preparing the guinea fowl, I used some leftover fruit mince from Christmas, but if you don’t have that you could add some currants and a little candied peel to your stuffing mix. I also used some veal meatballs that my butcher had prepared following his suggestion. It is quite common here in Italy when doing your food shopping at the markets, to be asked what you are planning to cook and how you’ll make it too. Opinions are given, suggestions made, and you often come home with a couple of new recipes (because there will always be somebody standing by you who will also contribute to this conversation of recipe assistance). This is what happened when I asked my lovely butcher for some minced veal and pork. He suggested I use the meatballs he had just finished preparing as they were already seasoned, and had breadcrumbs and parsley in there as well. So, please be aware that this recipe is what I did last Sunday, but definitely allows for creative flexibility with ingredients and quantities.
Although you could use a can of pre-cooked chestnuts, I strongly suggest you buy fresh, raw chestnuts if you can and cook them the night before. The stuffing recipe would suit, chicken, turkey or duck too obviously. I accompanied the guinea fowl with roast potatoes, peas and roast sweet potato. When roasting the guinea fowl, I placed half a large sweet potato (cut into pieces) and 3 small onions in the base of the baking tray. This helped create a yummy, sweet gravy to compliment the finished dish.
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