Quinces are hanging off the hedgerows in Provence, so we picked several from an abandoned tree. But apart from making quince jelly, what can you do with them? One answer is to pot-roast a guinea-fowl with one or two. After choosing the best bits of the fruit, we only had about a single quince’s worth. This turned out to be a perfect quantity for flavouring, and, combined with the cider or apple juice, made for a very succulent dish.
The goodly size of the guinea-fowl meant that for two it lasted two evenings (with mushrooms added for the second sitting) and there were still a couple of joints left for a dish with rice (see Olive Oil, Garlic & Parsley – the book for a recipe). A series of lovely meals.
As for the carcass, that was made into a stock (see book for a method) and this became the basis of a tomato and red pepper soup (about which more in a later post).
Chicken or, better still, pheasant could undoubtedly be done in the same way.
- 1 lge or 2 med onions
- 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
- olive oil
- 1 guinea-fowl, weighing approx 1.5 kg
- 1 quince
- 1 bouquet garni: 4–5 sprigs of parsley, 1 bay leaf
- 1 lge clove of garlic
- 1 heaped tsp black peppercorns
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 200–300 ml cider or (clear) apple juice
- 250–300 g mushrooms (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5/190°C.
Peel and cut the onions into eighths or quarters and the bacon or pancetta into strips.
Fry both lightly in a thick casserole (that will hold the guinea-fowl comfortably) in a spoonful of olive oil, transfer with a draining spoon, and reserve.
Brown the guinea-fowl all over in the same oil, having added some if needed. Meanwhile, peel and slice the quince small.
Return the onion and bacon to the pot, along with the quince, the bouquet garni, the garlic, peeled but whole, and the black peppercorns. Season generously with salt and some freshly ground pepper.
Pour in approx 200 ml cider/apple juice, bring to a bubble, cover, and place the casserole in the middle of the hot oven for 45–60 min, checking after 30–40 min whether more cider or apple juice is required and after 50 min whether the bird is already cooked.
Should you be including mushrooms, clean and slice or quarter them (depending on size), sauté them quickly in hot olive oil, and add them to the pot 10–15 min before the end of the cooking time.
Serve the bird on a hot platter with the sauce poured over. It can be carved at the table as the meat will just fall apart.