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Guinea Fowl Baked with Thirty Cloves of Garlic

Before you cry off this one, remember that garlic, simmered gently for 1¼ hours, mellows deliciously, losing much of its pungency. I have to admit it's probably not the thing to eat before a first date, but otherwise it's utterly sublime. In this recipe, an inedible huff paste is used to make a perfect seal for the lid of the casserole, ensuring that all the juices and fragrances remain intact. It's made in moments, but if you want to you could use foil instead – bearing in mind it will not be quite as effective.

 
 
 Guinea Fowl Baked with Thirty Cloves of Garlic

  Serves 4

Ingredients
 1 x 4 lb (1.8 kg) guinea fowl
 30 cloves garlic, unpeeled (3-4 heads)
 ½ oz (10 g) butter
 1 dessertspoon olive oil
 6 small sprigs fresh rosemary
 1 heaped tablespoon rosemary leaves, bruised and chopped
 10 fl oz (275 ml) white wine
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the huff paste:
 8 oz (225 g) plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).
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Equipment
You will also need a lidded flameproof casserole large enough to hold the guinea fowl comfortably – about 8 pints (4.5 litres).

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Two.

Method

First of all dry the guinea fowl as much as possible with kitchen paper and season it well.

Next, melt the butter and oil in the casserole, then, keeping the heat fairly high, brown the guinea fowl carefully on all sides. This will seem a bit awkward, but all you do is protect your hands with a cloth and hold the guinea fowl by its legs, turning it into different positions until it is a good golden colour all over; this will take 10-15 minutes in all.

After that, remove the guinea fowl from the casserole, add the cloves of garlic and rosemary sprigs, toss these around, then replace the guinea fowl and sprinkle the chopped rosemary all over. Next, pour the wine all around it and let it gently come up to simmering point.

Meanwhile, place the flour in a bowl and add 5 fl oz (150 ml) of cold water – it should be enough to make a soft but not sticky dough – then divide the dough into 4 and roll each piece into a cylinder about 9 inches (23 cm) long on a lightly floured surface.

Now position these all around the rim of the casserole – it doesn't matter what they look like.

Place the casserole lid carefully on top, pressing down gently and making sure there are no gaps. Alternatively, simply place a double sheet of foil over the casserole before putting the lid on.

Now place the casserole in the oven and cook for 1 hour exactly, then remove the lid and let the guinea fowl continue to cook for another 10 minutes, to re-crisp the skin.

Next remove the guinea fowl from the casserole and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Serve the carved guinea fowl with the garlic cloves alongside and the cooking juices poured around it.

The idea is to squash the garlic cloves with a knife to release all the creamy pulp and, as you eat, dip the pieces of guinea fowl into it.

Creamy mashed potatoes would be a wonderful accompaniment here.

 

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