Guinea fowl cooked in cider

Serves 4
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Guinea fowl is the bohemian of the poultry yard. It really does have lots of flavour and compares to a good quality free-range poulet noir. It has a slight gaminess about it and a delightful yellow flesh and can be treated as game birds in recipes.

2 guinea fowl weighing about 1kg each
Vegetable oil for frying
30g butter
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
30g flour plus some extra for dusting
150ml dry cider
700ml chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3tbsp double cream
1tbsp chopped parsley

Remove the legs from the guinea fowl, cut off the knuckles and halve them at the joint to divide the thigh and drumstick. Remove the backbone with a heavy knife and chop the carcass in half to give you two breasts on the bone. Trim any excess bone around the meat on the breasts and cut each breast in half across the middle. You will now be left with eight pieces of breast on the bone and four drumsticks and four thighs.

Lightly flour the pieces of guinea fowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and lightly brown the pieces on all sides, then drain them on kitchen paper.

In a thick-bottomed saucepan gently cook the onion in the butter until soft. Add the flour and stir well. Gradually add the cider and chicken stock, stirring well to avoid any lumps forming. Bring to the boil and add the legs and thighs of the guinea fowl first and lightly season with a little more salt and pepper. Simmer gently with a lid on for 1 hour or until the guinea fowl is tender. Add the breasts and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.

Remove the pieces of guinea fowl with a slotted spoon and put to one side. Add the double cream to the cooking liquor and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Return the guinea fowl back to the sauce with the chopped parsley and bring back to the boil.

Serve with good mashed potato or a mashed root vegetable.