Phil Vickey's July recipe
Grilled guinea fowl with green peppercorns, brandy and cream
Guinea fowl is more widely available these days - it makes a great change from chicken and has a more delicate flavour. The combination here with green peppercorns and brandy are ideal, not too strong, but very tasty. I serve it with just plain, boiled pasta shells, olive oil and black pepper. Guinea fowl also barbecues very well but be careful not to overcook - it will quickly turn dry and tough.
115g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp green peppercorns in brine, drained
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 plump guinea fowl breasts with wing bone
30ml/1fl oz brandy
30ml/1fl oz chicken stock
300ml/½ pint double cream
pinch of caster sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
cooked pasta shells, to serve
a little olive oil, to drizzle
Preheat the grill to high.
Place the softened butter in a bowl. Crush the peppercorns using a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin and add to the softened butter with the shallot. Season.
Carefully lift up the skin of the guinea fowl breast, being careful not to puncture or tear it and smear a quarter of the flavoured butter over the flesh of each breast, below the skin. Dot a little of the butter on the surface of the skin and season well.
Place the breasts on a rack above the grill pan and place under the grill. Cook for about 10 -15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, turning over halfway through cooking, but be careful that the skin does not burn. Remove the breasts from the grill pan and keep warm.
Carefully strain off the excess butter and cooking juices from the grill pan and pour into a saucepan. Add the brandy and stock and simmer rapidly until reduced by about half. Stir in the cream and sugar and simmer again to thicken slightly.
To serve, sit the guinea fowl breasts on plates and pour over the sauce. Serve with pasta shells, season with black pepper and drizzle over a little olive oil.
Check that the guinea fowl breasts are cooked by inserting a metal skewer or the point of a sharp knife into the thickest part of the meat - the juices that run out should be clear with no traces of blood.