Tag Archives: The Home Guard

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

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

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.

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