It’s probably not something that most people immediately think of when planning a special supper, or just an everyday one for that matter. But guinea fowl makes a delicious, healthy and versatile ingredient that is easy to cook and just a little bit unusual. It has a lovely flavour, sort of a cross between chicken and pheasant. I prefer it to the latter – pheasant has a tendency to by dry if not very carefully cooked. Perfect for autumn cooking, it is here beautifully enhanced with a herb butter and made a little bit luxurious with a rich red wine sauce. A simple but effective main course that can largely be prepared in advance and won’t cause any kitchen stress. The cabbage parcels are deceptively easy. Prepare in advance and simply steam for a couple of minutes or so before serving. Celeric & potato puree is great with this.

For four

4 supreme of guinea fowl, wing bone cleaned
2 tablespoons extra virgin oil
Fresh parsley
Fresh thyme
Rind of a lemon
40g unsalted butter
Sea salt & black pepper
300ml Chicken stock (fresh)
200 ml red wine
15g cold butter, chopped

1 savoy cabbage
1 leek
1 tablespoon rapeseed/light olive oil
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
Sea salt & black pepper

Whisk the oil together with lots of fresh thyme and the rind of half a lemon. Season well and add the guinea fowl. Toss well in the marinade, cover and leave for a couple of hours.

Mash the butter with lots of finely chopped parsley and fresh thyme. Season and add the rind of the other half a lemon. Loosen the skin of the guinea fowl and push a knob of butter under each one massaging it all over and then any remaining can also go over the top of the guinea fowl skin.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Remove four large leaves from the cabbage, drop into the water and simmer for two to three minutes until tender. Drain and refresh under cold water. Pat dry with kitchen paper.

Slice the leek finely and about 1/4 of the rest of the cabbage. Heat the oil in a pan and saute the leek and cabbage with salt & pepper. Add a dash of boiling water to create steam to help with the cooking. Make sure you boil it all off before stirring in the creme fraiche. Remove from the heat and set aside. Check the seasoning.

Lay the four leaves of cabbage out and cut out any spine. Trim to a circle shape, the size of a large saucer. Lay on a piece of cling film and top with a spoonful of the cabbage leek mix. Bring the sides up to form a ball and use the clingfilm to shape it and then twist the top to hold it in place. Cut off any excess and put twist side up into a steamer. Set aside until ready to cook.

Heat a frying pan and have the oven heated to 180c. Brown the guinea fowl on the skin side and then place onto a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about eight minutes until just cooked through. Add the chicken stock to the pan that you fried the guinea fowl in and boil hard to reduce. Add the wine and seasoning. Simmer for a few minutes until well reduced. Remove the guinea fowl from the oven and keep warm to rest while you steam the cabbage for about three minutes.

Whisk the cold chopped butter into the red wine sauce. Serve the guinea fowl with some potato or celeriac puree, some roast/steamed carrots and the cabbage parcel (removed from it’s cling film!!).

guinea fowl