I love late September; it’s a great time of the year. The days are beginning to draw in, the leaves begin turning brown, and the thought of kicking back in front of an open fire with a large glass of something red fills me with major excitement! It’s also a brilliant time of year for food. The shellfish season makes a welcome return with super-fresh British mussels and oysters. The availability of fresh local game is really exciting.
On Sunday we took the family to Aldeburgh Food Festival, a two-day affair on the picturesque Suffolk coastline. Amongst the usual family tradition of sampling the ales and ciders on offer from our favourite local breweries (!), we took a beeline into the seasonal food market to peruse wares of local greengrocers and game dealers; a really lovely bunch of worldly people whose awesome produce contributed to one of my absolute favourite early Autumn food and wine matches of all time.
This is dead easy, and tastes great – just the way cooking should be. Enjoy!
Roast herbed guinea fowl with buttered girolles mushrooms and beef-dripping roasted potatoes.
Wine Match: Domaine Chante Cigale Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2015, chilled.
We’d usually save this sort of special wine for a big occasion, but the return of the Autumn brings the occasions to enjoy seasonal foods and wines with your friends and family – seemed like a really good excuse. Rich, delicate, crisp – slightly nutty… this is a simply superb match for the natural, earthy flavours of girolles mushrooms and slightly fatty guinea fowl. Lovely.
Let’s Get Cooking
- Pour yourself a glass of wine. You’re the chef after all!
- Rub the guinea fowl all over with a decent olive oil. Massage in a good serving of salt, pepper, chopped rosemary and thyme leaves, and put to one side. Add a few rashers of streaky bacon to the breast of the bird to keep moist during roasting.
- Add a generous scoop of beef dripping to a heavy roasting tin. Throw in peeled potatoes with a handful of salt. Add to an oven sat at around 180-200 deg C. No need to par-boil the potatoes, this recipe is all about throwing something together quickly which tastes amazing.
- After 10 minutes, add your guinea fowl to the oven in its own tin. Roast for a further 30 mins.
- Remove the bird from the oven and slice between the leg and breast – if the juices run clear it’s good to go. Loosely wrap it in foil and store somewhere warm. Game should be served ‘just’ cooked to be at its best, so try to keep an eye at regular intervals to catch it when it’s just ready.
- Turn the oven off, but leave the potatoes in to keep hot – and give them a good shaking in salt to ensure they stay crispy.
- Add the mushrooms to a frying pan with butter and a couple of sage leaves. Cook on a fairly gentle heat for 10 mins or so until they’re done.
- Carve both breasts and both legs off the bird whole, serve one of each onto a plate and cover in the mushrooms and butter. Add a fancy piece of rosemary to make it look posh!
- Deliver at table to smiles all round, and enjoy that cold glass of white CNDP to boot – perfect!