Guinea fowl with Savoy cabbage, prunes and Madeira sauce

Impress your guests with guinea fowl wrapped in bacon with tea-soaked prunes and a creamy Madeira sauce.


For the stock
For the prunes
  • 100ml/4floz freshly made tea

  • 8 pitted prunes

For the vegetables
For the guinea fowl
For the sauce

Preparation method

  1. For the stock, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and fry the leeks, onions, carrots and celery in a large pan over a medium-high heat for about 8-10 minutes, or until beginning to colour.

  2. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and salt. Pour in enough cold water (about 1 litre/2¾ pint) to cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, skim the surface of any froth, then cover partly with a lid and leave to bubble gently.

  3. For the prunes, soak the prunes in the tea in a small bowl.

  4. For the vegetables, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Peel the potatoes and cut down through each to create the classic barrel shape of fondant potatoes using a wide swivel-bladed vegetable peeler.

  5. Fry the potatoes in goose fat in an ovenproof frying pan for about 10 minutes, or until golden-brown all over. Transfer to a roasting tin in which they will fit snugly and set aside the pan containing the goose fat. Add a ladle of the stock and place in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until tender.

  6. For the guinea fowl remove the thighs, legs and wings from each guinea fowl using a boning knife, leaving two crowns. Add the wings to the bubbling stock.

  7. Place the crowns in a roasting tin and cover the breast meat with a criss-cross of two streaky bacon rashers on each. Tuck in some of the thyme, add a ladleful of the stock and cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

  8. Fry the guinea fowl thighs and legs in the reserved goose fat for 10 minutes, or until crisp and browned all over. (Take care here as they tend to spit.) Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add some thyme. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

  9. Strain the remaining stock into a large clean saucepan and boil vigorously until the volume of liquid has reduced by about a quarter. Set aside a ladleful for the vegetables. Stir in the Madeira, Strain the prunes and add them to the sauce. Stir in the cream and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

  10. Remove the guinea fowl and potatoes from the oven and set aside to rest, covered, in a warm place.

  11. To finish the vegetables, chop the bacon into lardons (small cubes) and fry in a small frying pan until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon.

  12. Fry the onion in the bacon fat until soft. Add the carrot and cabbage and the reserved stock and cook quickly, stirring frequently until the cabbage has wilted and the stock evaporated. Return the bacon to the pan and add a tablespoon of cream.

  13. To serve, remove the breasts from the crowns and cut through lengthways. Divide the cabbage mixture between warmed plates and fan out the breast meat on top. Serve with the fondant potatoes and the roasted thigh and legs, with the sauce poured over.

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time

1 to 2 hours cooking time

Serves 4

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