OVEN-ROASTED GUINEA HEN WITH PANCETTA
AND HERBS - Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Prep: 30 min; Cook: 1 hr; Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
Yield: Serves 4
Guinea fowl, or guinea hens, are not as well known or widely used in America as they once were, and no one seems to be able to tell me why. The flesh is as tender as that of a naturally raised chicken, but with a slight but pleasantly gamy flavor that reminds me of pheasant.They're small birds, rarely weighing as much as four pounds, ideal for dinner for four, especially if there's a rather substantial first course like pasta. Because they tend to be dry, guinea fowl are best cooked with a slice of prosciutto (or pancetta, or blanched bacon) draped over to baste the bird with its fat. See also: ROASTED GAME HENS RECIPE - Pollastrini arrosti or ROAST GUINEA FOWL OR PHEASANT RECIPE- Faraona is salmi.
Roasting pan or baking dish large enough to accomodate bird.
- 2 ounces pancetta chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 3 sage leaves1 sprig rosemary
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 to 3 Ts extra virgin olive oil
- 1(2 1/2-pound) guinea fowl, split in half
- 2 slices prosciutto
- 1/4 cup vin santo or dry sherry
- PREHEAT the oven to 425 degrees F.
- COMBINE the pancetta, garlic, sage, and the leaves of the rosemary and chop until the mixture is very fine. Add a little salt and pepper and combine with 1 T of the oil. Rub the inside of each half bird with this mixture and lay the halves, skin side up, in a roasting pan that will just hold them. Drape a prosciutto slice over the top of each breast and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.
- ROAST in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, basting with 2 Ts of vin santo every 10 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 350 degrees F. and continue roasting an additional 30 minutes, basting frequently with the juices in the pan. If the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a fork, the bird is done.