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22 August 2008

On cooking guinea hens... any suggestions? [More:]I have one to cook tonight for a couple friends but I haven't cooked one in years and years, and that was with professional supervision...
Are you roasting it? Follow a recipe for roast chicken (as in, stuff some herbed butter under the skin), but remove it about 10-15 minutes before you think it's done. Remove from oven, let it rest, loosely covered, for 15-20 minutes.

The main thing is not to overcook it. While it's fattier than most store-bought chickens, it's also a lot easier to dry out.

posted by mudpuppie 22 August | 17:26
And here are two highly rated recipes from Epicurious:

Roasted Guinea Hens with Mustard and Herbs (from Daniel Boulud)

Five-Spice Roasted Guinea Hens
posted by mudpuppie 22 August | 17:28
Is a guinea hen the offspring of a guinea pig and a chicken? If so, I want to see a picture of it before you cook it.
posted by essexjan 22 August | 17:57
They're a funny looking bird- like a gargantuan California quail. Unfortunately for them they just LOOK like food (to my eyes anyway), as opposed to chickens, which look edible but not like their sole purpose is to be eaten.

Thank you, mudpuppie! That's what I was hoping. I think I'll just do a butter/herb rub with some garlic and rosemary or whatever I find on my walk to the car from the office. I think I saw some tarragon- that sounds okay, doesn't it?

Ok, next question. What's a good carb to go with it that's not potatoes? Wild rice pilaf, maybe?
posted by small_ruminant 22 August | 18:03
(Found this blog with cute pictures while I was rooting around for guinea fowl pics.)
posted by small_ruminant 22 August | 18:07
Tarragon sounds okay, with the caveat(s) that not everyone likes licorice-y things, and it doesn't play well with other herbs. (At least where my tastebuds are concerned.) Rosemary, garlic, lemon would be classic and safe.

Starch, you say? Rice pilaf sounds good. Sweet potato fries, maybe? Or you could do some roasted root veggies. (Not totally a starch, but still.) I'm a huge fan of quinoa lately, but I'll not type out a recipe unless you're interested.
posted by mudpuppie 22 August | 18:11
Or, re: starch, you could do a bruschetta, it being tomato season and all. If you do garlic/lemon with the bird, you could throw in garlic and lemon zest and herbs with some chopped tomatoes, mix it with olive oil and let it sit for a bit, then put it on toasted baguette. Top with shaved parmesan?
posted by mudpuppie 22 August | 18:13
Two other side ideas: Roasted cauliflower, or roasted jerusalem artichokes. (Never had those? They're dee-lish! They taste like real live artichokes. Really yummy.)
posted by mudpuppie 22 August | 18:15
ooo I think it'll be sweet potato fries, unless I can find jerusalem artichokes. I haven't been seeing them lately. They're a nuisance to peel but I LUUUV them. (Thanks for reminding me about them!)

I do not understand quinoa. It never fills me up and, to get a little too graphic, it comes out looking exactly the same as it did when it went in. I think it's a plot. Also, a lot of times it has a bitter aftertaste.
posted by small_ruminant 22 August | 18:23
Quinoa must be rinsed very well before cooking to remove the bitterness. Can't help you with the digestion issues.

I saw jerusalem artichokes at Berkeley Bowl a couple weeks ago, but I don't know how convenient/inconvenient that is for you. When I roast them, I never peel them. Just cut in half lengthwise, like fingerling potatoes, toss in olive oil, salt, and peppah. Spritz on some lemon juice once they come out of the oven. Onions and garlic while roasting are optional.
posted by mudpuppie 22 August | 18:29
What are your feelings on truffles or truffle oil with guinea fowl? I don't like mustard and lemon is too strong a flavor for birds, I think. Can I do something with figs or blackberries? We have lots of those...

Okay, I'll try the jerusalem artichokes without peeling. If that works out I'll be eating them a lot more often!

Berkeley Bowl is the store nearest my house so it's my usual place to shop despite the crazed weirdos you're competing with. (If I'm in a good mood they're just entertaining. Do NOT leave your basket, though- someone else will take it and buy all your groceries and take them home. Does that happen anyplace else?)

posted by small_ruminant 22 August | 18:33
I think truffles would overpower the fowl, but I think truffles overpower pretty much everything.

Here's a recipe for roast quail with figs. It even has tarragon. It's pretty labor intensive, though. You could adapt -- maybe skip the stuffing part.

The Berkeley Bowl crows are pretty annoying. Doesn't help that the aisles are so narrow. They've got some great stuff, though, and I'm always impressed that the checkers not only know how to identify the completely off-the-wall apple variety you're buying, but they also know the code for it.
posted by mudpuppie 22 August | 18:44
wow- that looks awesome! I wonder if I'm up for figuring it out by 7...

PROBably not, but I'm definitely printing that out. Hmmm...
posted by small_ruminant 22 August | 18:48
Skip the stuffing, rub the inside of the bird with butter and herbs.

The sauce is easy and fast, though it calls for pricey demi glace. (If you were thinking truffles, though, demi glace would be a steal.)

Not that much to figure out, if you approach it that way!

I picked 5 HUGE figs from my tree this afternoon. They're the size of small apples. For some reason, I think this means you should go the fig route. Or maybe that's just horticultural solipcism.
posted by mudpuppie 22 August | 18:56
I will do so. Mmmm. Thanks, mudpup!
posted by small_ruminant 22 August | 19:28
Update: It turned out great! I used a modified fig sauce and it STILL turned out great. (modified because I couldn't get my hands on any demi glace. What is Berkeley Bowl's meat dept coming to?!) And yes, fig sauce and guinea hen are very yummy together.

No jerusalem artichokes to be had, but I roasted celery root, yam, and sweet potato with olive oil and rosemary and it turned out fine.
posted by small_ruminant 23 August | 02:19
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