Poached Breasts of Guinea Fowl

Martin Blunos's simple but impressive dish of tender guinea fowl breasts poached in a fragrant stock, served with tender vegetables, is perfect for a dinner party
By Martin Blunos
Poached Breasts of Guinea Fowl
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes plus 15 minutes standing
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: hard

Ingredients

Main:

  • 2 guinea fowl
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 3 clove garlic
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 stick celery
  • sprig thyme
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 8 egg whites, and shells
  • 375 ml madeira
  • black pepper
  • selection of vegetables, to serve
  • shreds lemon zest, to garnish

Method

1. To prepare the guinea fowl, first remove the legs and wings by neatly severing the joints with a sharp knife or poultry shears. Split the carcass by cutting through the rib cage from front to back, parallel to the backbone. Pull the backbone section away from the breast section, then cut down between the backbone and shoulder bones to detach one part from the other.

2. Cut the breast meat away from the bones, closely following the contours of the bones and keeping the breasts whole. Trim the breasts neatly. Remove the leg meat from the bones and chop finely. Store the breast and leg meat separately in the fridge until needed.

3. Place the bones in a stockpot with the carrots, onion, garlic, leek, celery, thyme, bay and peppercorns. Pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a rapid boil, removing the scum with a perforated skimmer. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes, skimming from time to time. Drain the stock in a colander set over a bowl. Then drain again through a muslin-lined fine sieve to remove any remaining residue.

4. Set aside about 700ml of the stock for poaching the breasts. Pour the remaining stock into a saucepan and bring back to the boil. Simmer briskly until reduced by one third.

5. While the stock is reducing, whisk the egg whites until frothy, and crush the shells. Mix together with the chopped leg meat. Add a ladleful of the reducing stock and whisk well. Pour the mixture into the saucepan of reducing stock, along with the Madeira. Whisk again and simmer gently until a crust forms (the crust will absorb any impurities).

6. Make a hole in the crust with the tip of a knife. Simmer for a further 45 minutes, taking care not to let the mixture boil. Drain through a muslin-lined fine sieve to remove the crust. Return the clarified stock to the pan and keep warm while you poach the breasts.

7. Place the breasts in a single layer in a pan into which they will fit snugly. Pour over enough of stock set aside for poaching to just cover them. Place a lid on the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

8. To serve, place a selection of cooked hot vegetables into the base of four heated wide soup bowls. Remove the breasts from the poaching liquid and season them with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on top of the vegetables. Carefully ladle some of the clarified stock over the meat and vegetables, and garnish with a few shreds of lemon zest.

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