Guinea Fowl (UK), Cornish Game Hen (US), Pintade (Fr).
Introduced to Britain by the Romans (apparently).
This is odd because I once saw a flock of these nervy birds, moving as one in a tightly packed phalanx (safety in numbers) that reminded me of the testedo–the Roman military formation.
As they approached a target, a platoon of legionnaires would use their shields to protect themselves top and sides, moving as one. The images relieved the tedium and frustration of Latin lessons at school!
“Left a bit, lads! Close-up, close-up! Not so fast at the front! Steady boys, steady!”
The testedo of guinea fowl–perhaps equally unsure of their fate–made a heck of a panicky row.
The combination here of anchovies melted into a classic sauce of olive oil, lemon juice and capers works well with the gamier taste of the guinea fowl. It makes a nice change from chicken.
This recipe comes from Jenny Baker’s excellent Simple French Cuisine cook book.
1 guinea fowl–cut up into quarters
1 tbsp olive oil
4 anchovy fillets–chopped into a mash
1 glass white wine
1 tbsp capers
juice of a lemon
salt and pepper
Heat the oil until hot in a pan large enough to cook the entire bird. Then add the guinea fowl pieces and brown, turning occasionally.
Take them out of the pan and set them aside.
Soften the onion in the same pan–turning often.
Mix in the anchovies–giving them time to melt into the oil-coated onions.
Add the wine and bring the mixture up to a gentle bubble.
Add the guinea fowl pieces, the capers and the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Bring back to a bubble (Meredith thinks I should say that a bubble is more than a simmer but less than a boil!), turn down the heat and cover the pan.
Cook for about 30 minutes until the meat pieces run clear when pierced–being careful not to over cook them.
(Guinea fowl can be dry.)
Served with brussels sprouts and brown basmati rice.
Right lads–it’s shields down–time out–and off to the canteen for a tasty dish of numididae*!
*Latin for guinea fowl