I usually make this one with a nice, plump pasture-raised chicken. And I tried it a couple of times with rabbit, too, and absolutely loved it. However, since I had a taste of rabbit cooked the same way but with dates and ras al hanout spices, the rabbit now rarely gets a toss with preserved lemon. Guinea fowl, on the other hand, I will probably never cook a different way ever again. I’ve roasted guinea fowl before, and roasting this firm-fleshed bird isn’t always successful. It can dry out or the meat remains a little tough. Mixed with herbs and olives and preserved lemon, steaming in its own juices: the cooking method here does the bird brilliant justice. The meat is juicy and tender yet still firm and tasty. I get all my poultry from local farmers. Not always the same one, but when I am in need of rabbit or guinea fowl, I go to my trusted source: Tejas Heritage Farms. While rabbit is a little less easy to get from him (he doesn’t always have it), guinea fowl is.
And now it is a family favorite. Soon as this one’s on the stove, your kitchen fills with fragrant smells of poultry simmering with ginger, cilantro and turmeric. Based on a traditional Moroccan chicken and preserved lemon tagine, it makes for an easy week-day one-pot meal.
Guinea Fowl, Preserved Lemon, Herbs & Vegetables
Preparation time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
- 1 whole guinea fowl, quartered*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 large red onion, sliced into thin half moons
- 3–4 gloves garlic, sliced thin
- ½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, mint or fennel tops
- 1 large preserved lemon, skin only, cut into thin strips
- 3 large golden potatoes, peeled and cut into large wedges (keep smaller potatoes whole)
- 1 medium fennel bulb, top removed, cut into strips
- 2 celery stalks, cut in diagonal half moons
Rub the guinea fowl with olive oil, salt and spices. Place in a large Dutch oven and add everything else. Carefully mix all together. Make sure the potato wedges end up on top (they will steam rather than boil). Add a little water (2–3 tablespoons), cover with the lid and bring to a boil—do NOT lift the lid to see if it is boiling. Instead, listen: Once you hear bubbling sounds (after about 5 minutes) turn the heat to low. Simmer on low for 35 minutes. At that time check the meat for doneness. If it comes off the bone easy, the dish is ready. If not, cover the lid again and simmer another 5 minutes.
*I take off the legs first, then the wings, and then break up the back from the breast (which I keep whole on the bone). When it comes to serving, I carve off the meat, divide legs into drum and thigh, scrape off meat from the back part (which I pull and add to the sauce). Of course you could also serve “as is” and have everyone fight over the leg ;-).
This recipe was first published in the winter 17/18 issue of Edible Houston.