Fresh Guinea Hen On The Way

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BreezyCooking

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Okay guys - I have a fresh air-chilled, never frozen, 2-1/2 to 3-pound Guinea Hen arriving on my doorstep tomorrow. Have spent the entire morning researching recipes before I hit the market.

Of course, since I can also hit the market tomorrow - any TNT ideas here for Guinea Hen?

I've had it in a restaurant, but have never cooked it myself.
 

BreezyCooking

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You know - & this is going to sound stupid - I had it so long ago that I don't even really remember what it tasted like. Just remember that I really liked it & wanted to cook it myself one day. Originally had it at a local popular upscale restaurant here, "The Bavarian Chef" (Madison, VA). So when D'Artagnan sent me an e-mail that they had fresh air-chilled ones on sale, just had to order one. Once in a blue moon they appear in upscale supermarkets around here, but they look like they've been frozen since the beginning of time, & for that amount of money, I'd much rather deal with a fresh bird.

As I remember it, definitely not like duck at all; more like a cross between chicken & pheasant - just like a chicken, mostly white meat except for the legs & thighs. Since technically a "game bird", it's supposed to be VERY lean, thus most recipes call for larding or covering with bacon. I'd like to avoid that.

Perused the internet all morning for recipes & have quite a few that look interesting. Should be an interesting experiment for dinner tomorrow night. Hope my husband is up to it - lol!!!
 

BreezyCooking

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Okay - here's the recipe that has piqued my interest the most so far:

Grilled Guinea Hen with Lemon, Garlic and Oregano

But I don't want to do it on the grill. Grilling an unknown meat whole that's lean & prone to overcooking isn't something I want to experiment with. I'd rather experiment with that method using a cheap chicken - lol!

So how would you guys transmute(?) this recipe to oven-roasting?
 

Barbara L

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I have never eaten them, but some neighbors have a few Guineas. They like to come into our yard to catch bugs. They are so cute, and they make such neat sounds. Also, they are scared of every movement and they jog home as soon as they see any of us. :ROFLMAO::LOL::ROFLMAO: So entertaining!

:)Barbara
 

BreezyCooking

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Thanks Barb - I'll be sure to think of that cuteness when my plucked & ready-to-cook Guinea Hen arrives tomorrow - LOL!!!

Really, I'm only kidding. Lots of folks around here raise them. In fact, fairly recently we had to stop the car while a little flock of them scooted across the road. I think they're lovely birds & they're supposed to be bug-eating commandos, BUT their frequent screeches sound like children being murdered, & they're not natural coop-roosters like chickens. Thus, the folks that do have them lose an extremely large number of them to all the predators around here.

And while I haven't seen her yet this year, we used to have a farmers market vendor who sold Guinea Hen eggs for eating. She was always sold out when I hit her stand, so can't give a critique.

If I owned any, it would have to be for pets only. While I have a very healthy respect for folks who can butcher their own food, it ain't for me. I can't look something in the eye & then look at it on my plate - lol!
 

Barbara L

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I'm kind of the same way Breezy! I definitely don't have a problem eating them, but I wouldn't want to have to kill them. I'm probably the only one who thinks Guineas sound cute, but then I like the sound of peacocks too!

:)Barbara
 

BreezyCooking

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Do you think I'd have to spatchcock it? I was hoping to roast it whole this first go-round. And do a LOT of basting since I won't be larding it with bacon. Am thinking 350 degrees for 45 minutes & then check for internal temp?

Really don't want to screw it up. Pricey bird.

Have several recipes for braises/casseroles, but it's kinda warm for that kind of cooking. Would prefer to roast.

Only a food board would understand how someone can be standing around wringing her hands over how best to cook a slag of raw poultry - lol!!!!
 

BreezyCooking

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I'm kind of the same way Breezy! I definitely don't have a problem eating them, but I wouldn't want to have to kill them. I'm probably the only one who thinks Guineas sound cute, but then I like the sound of peacocks too!

:)Barbara

Personally, I don't mind their calls either (or peacocks), but even with 22 acres, I do have to think of the neighbors, & Guinea Hens are known to be big-time wanderers.
 

Barbara L

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Personally, I don't mind their calls either (or peacocks), but even with 22 acres, I do have to think of the neighbors, & Guinea Hens are known to be big-time wanderers.
Definitely! I enjoy our visits from the neighbors' Guineas, but not everyone would.

:)Barbara
 

BreezyCooking

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It's here! It's here! Lol! FedEx just dropped it off in its little styrofoam cooler full of ice packs. Small - like a chicken fryer - around 2-1/2 or 3 pounds. I'll take pics later when I'm setting it up for cooking.

I'm thinking that, using the recipe I posted earlier, I'll truss it & cook it on a flat rack in my oval roaster. Will let it brown first, then put the cover on to allow some moist heat to take over till it's done, basting every 10 minutes with the delicious garlicy-herby basting mixture. Am thinking last part of cooking time I'll throw some cut baby farmers market red potatoes & carrots into the pan to help soak up some of those gorgeous pan juices, & aside from them, will serve up some lightly cooked & buttered haricot verts green beans.

Hope I don't "fowl" it up (ha!ha!)!
 

n2cookin

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We had some as a kid when I grew up along with the chickens and turkeys. Though we never ate any of them. We only ate the chickens and turkeys. Don't know why we did not eat them. I guess because they were harder to catch. Looking forward to hearing how your recipe turned out.
 

BreezyCooking

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Well, bumped my Guinea Hen extravaganza from last night to tonight.

Just as I was getting ready to start prepping everything yesterday, heard from hubby that he wasn't exactly sure when he'd be getting home from work what with holiday traffic & everything. So, since Guinea Hen is such a lean bird & I've never cooked it before, didn't want to end up either with it having to sit around drying out waiting on him, or with us ending up eating it at midnight.

So it's now on the menu for this evening. Stay tuned!
 

BreezyCooking

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Everything turned out. . . . FABULOUS!! I was SO pleased, since I'm always nervous when I cook something for the very first time. The garlic/fresh herbs/lemon juice/wine basting marinade really did it's stuff, & the bird (air-chilled fresh - had never been frozen) was crispy-skinned moist & juicy with zero fat. Amazing stuff.

The bird weighed between 3 & 3-1/2 pounds, & felt heavy for it's size. The build is almost knife narrow as you'll notice in the pics. And because it's VERY lean & has almost no fat under the skin, it looked almost bluish because you can see the meat right through most of the skin. Mostly white meat, with dark relegated to the legs like a chicken. But that's where the resemblance stops.

Flavor was EXCELLENT, but difficult to describe. Husband said the closest he could get would be "robust chicken", but also agreed with me that in a blind taste test, no one would guess it was chicken. Quite un-chicken-like. All I can say is Guinea Fowl tastes like, well, Guinea Fowl - lol!! I definitely recommend that you try it if you ever get the chance.

Here it is buck naked & trussed up, before being slathered in lots of extra-virgin olive oil:




And here it is an hour & 20 minutes later, basting every 10 minutes for the last 40 minutes, surrounded by halved tiny baby red potatoes, & baby colored (orange, yellow, red, purple) carrots:




In addition to the roasted root veggies, served plain buttered French haricot vert green beans. AND, since I quartered it, have 2 quarters left to enjoy for another meal this week!!:):)
 
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