The guinea hen is a West African relative of the chicken and partridge, originally from Guinea. It has a gamey taste and can dry out easily because it has little fat. Cooking the bird in a covered pot and adding fat solves that problem, and raspberries match its stronger flavor. The raspberries inside the bird will tint the bird's juices red: don't let this fool you into thinking that it needs more cooking.
1 guinea hen, about 3 pounds (1.35 kg)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (250 g) raspberries
2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter, softened
3 thyme sprigs
1/2 cup (125 ml) port
1 tablespoon raspberry jam or jelly
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Pat the bird dry and season it inside and out with salt and pepper. Set 1/2 cup (62 g) of the raspberries aside and place the rest inside the hen. Truss it, then smear the skin with the softened butter.
Place the hen and the thyme in a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole. Pour in 1 cup (250 ml) water, cover, and place in the oven. Cook for 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until the thigh juices run clear when pierced with a skewer or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165 degrees F (73 degrees C). Transfer the hen to a platter, breast down, and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Skim off the fat from the cooking juices and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the port, raspberry jam or jelly, and vinegar and bring back to a boil, then boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until reduced to 1/3 cup (75 ml). Add any juices from the resting hen and check the seasoning. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a sauceboat and add the remaining raspberries.
Remove the trussing string, from the guinea hen. Carve and serve with the sauce.
Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Hardcover; 272 pages; $34.95
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created May 2006
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