Pot-roasted Guinea Fowl with Calvados, Cream and Apples
There are some lovely plump, free-range guinea fowl around at Christmas and this would be a splendid celebration lunch or supper for two or three.
If you don’t have Calvados, use brandy (but as Calvados is such a lovely ingredient to always have by in the kitchen, Christmas is a good excuse to buy a bottle!).
This recipe is from Delia's Happy Christmas. Serves 2–3
Begin by heating the butter in the saucepan over a medium heat until it foams, then season the bird and brown it in the hot butter, turning it frequently so it can brown all over (use a cloth to protect your hands as you turn it).
At this stage – when the bird is sitting upright again – warm the Calvados in a ladle over direct heat, then turn the flame out and set light to the warm Calvados using a long match and pour it over the guinea fowl. (If you do not have a gas hob, warm the Calvados in a small saucepan.) When the flames have died down, add the shallots and garlic and, keeping the heat low, let them soften while you prepare the apples. Remove the cores and cut them into 1cm rings. As you slice them, add them to the pan, tucking them all around.
Now pour in the cider, add the chopped sage and some seasoning, put a tight-fitting lid on and let it cook very gently for 1 hour. When the bird is cooked, remove it to a carving board and cover. Simmer the apples till the liquid has almost evaporated, then add the cream to the apples, giving it all a good shake, then turn the heat out.
Carve the guinea fowl as you would a pheasant. To do this, put the bird on its back, take a sharp knife and run the blade down the breastbone and along the wishbone, keeping it as close to the bone as you can. Using the knife as a lever, gently pull the breast away from the frame. Now insert your fingers along the ribcage and you'll find you can ease the leg and thigh away from the bone. Trim the bits of skin off and repeat with the other side. Cut each half in half again and return to the casserole to warm the joints in the sauce before transferring onto a serving platter. Spoon the apples and a few sage leaves all over to serve.
A large, deep saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and a ladle.