Tag Archives: pears

Day 28: Cinnamon-roasted Guinea Fowl with Pears

21 Feb

The season in the UK for guinea fowl is just ending (that’s guinea hen to you Americans) It makes for a great roast when paired with warm spices and fruit. I went with a smoky cinnamon-pear combo in this recipe. This flavor profile also works well for other game birds (squab, partridge or pheasant).

Shot for game birds was fairly limited during the war since Brits were asked to donate guns and ammunition to the war effort or UK-based forces like The Home Guard (Local Defence Volunteers or LDV). The image of hunters in our minds tends to be the tweed-coated aristocrats out for sport (think most recent episode of Downton Abbey), but hunting and fishing was also a vital food source if you happened to live in a rural area and were from a low income family. If you happened to have a gun still, which was rare, you could shoot your own game.

Cinnamon-roasted Guinea Fowl with Pears

INGREDIENTS
1 2-pound guinea fowl (guinea hen in the US)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cinnamon sticks
Non-stick spray
3 Anjou pears or other thin-skinned pears, halved, stickers removed
Ground cinnamon
1/2 cup to 1 cup vegetable broth

METHOD
Preheat a convection oven to 400°F. Remove any giblets from the guinea fowl and reserve in the fridge – hearts and livers can be used for another recipe, and neck can be used for a pan gravy. Pat the bird dry, then season with salt and pepper, including inside the cavity. Insert the cinnamon sticks into the cavity and tie the legs together if desired. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet tray with nonstick spray where you are going to put the guinea fowl, then put the guinea fowl on the baking sheet. Roast the bird for about 1/2 hour, then sprinkle the pear halves with salt and ground cinnamon.

Spray with a little non-stick spray, then add them to the bird with the neck, if available, and roast for another 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the bird.

A thermometer inserted into the thigh joint should read 160°F. You should allow about 20 minutes per pound of guinea hen, total cooking time. Guinea fowl meat is naturally darker than chicken so don’t worry if there’s a pink tinge to the meat – it will all look like “dark meat.” Rest the guinea fowl for about 15 minutes before carving and serving with the pears.

If you like, you can add vegetable broth to the baking sheet to deglaze, then reduce the vegetable broth for a quick jus.

Day 21: Pear Pockets

3 Feb

My Granny’s pastry prowess is one of the thing I envy the most – when I stayed with her as a child, we’d make apple pies together. She’d make beautiful pastry roses to decorate the top and used to let me play with the scraps. I clumsily squished them and made greyish, unappetizing approximations of her pastry flowers, which she dutifully baked, even though they looked like something the dog did. Years later, I’ve learned a lot about pastry but still don’t have that effortless hand with it that she did.

On top of that, pastry during the war had an added challenge – fat, one of the main components of a good short crust pastry (what the English use for a lot of our pies and tarts) was in short supply. While researching on the internet, I came across this recipe  on the Discovery Channel site, and decided to try it for a dessert. It looks to be a multipurpose pastry, equally good for savory and sweet. It’s nice and crisp in terms of pastry, and if you’re one of those health conscious people, it does reduce the amount of fat in the pastry slightly. Here I used it to make pear pockets.

Wartime Recipe from YourDiscovery.com

Pear Pockets

INGREDIENTS
4 ounces all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
4 to 7 ounces smooth mashed potatoes
1 1/2 ounces butter, cubed
1 Bosc pear, peeled and small diced
Cinnamon sugar
Confectioners sugar

METHOD
Put the flour in the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment. Add the salt and mix thoroughly. Turn it on the lowest setting and add the butter and potato until the dough achieves a short crust pastry consistency. Do not overmix. Remove the dough from the mixer and refrigerate, covered in plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick, using a little flour. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares. Combine the pear and enough cinnamon sugar just to coat the pear in a bowl. Put a little of the pear mixture in the center of one of the squares. Dampen the sides of the square and top it with another square. Gently press the edges to seal and put on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Bake until golden brown. Dust with confectioners sugar.

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