The bird we cooked and ate this Christmas was what is commonly known as a chapon de pintade — a Guinea-fowl capon. You probably know what a capon is. It's a male bird, usually a chicken, that has been fattened to produce tasty, tender meat. The capon has also been surgically castrated, but let's not think about that. As far as I know, capons are not force-fed (gavé).
People call these capons chapons de pintade, so I guess pintade is the generic term for this species of poultry, but it is also the name for a Guinea hen, the female of the family. This kind of capon should, I think, be called a chapon de « pintadeau », which is the Guinea cock. Oh well. The fact is, the pintade and pintadeau, African in origin, are a delicious volaille (fowl) that has been appreciated in Europe since Roman times. This one weighed 2.6 kg, or 5¾ lbs.
We bought the Guinea-fowl capon from our local poultry vendor (volailler), who sells them and all sorts of prepared poultry and poultry products (including rabbits) at the Saturday market in Saint-Aignan and at the Friday market in Montrichard. The processing facility is located in Pouillé, a village just 5 miles from our house. We've been buying poultry from these people (named Clément) for 15 years now.
I also made "dressing," which is what I call stuffing that you don't cook inside the bird but in a separate pan. For the dressing, I had sausage meat, duck liver plus the liver of the pintadeau, cubes of my home-made pain de mie, shallot, onion, garlic celery (céleri-branches), pecans from North Carolina, and dried cranberries "rehydrated" in Armagnac. I might have forgotten an ingredient or two... Tasha was attracted by the aroma of the cooked sausage and liver, as you can see below.
We had steamed and then lightly sauteed Brussels sprouts and a purée of potimarron (winter squash) from the 2018 vegetable garden as side dishes with our chapon de pintade, and of course the dressing. We opened a bottle of 2015 Régnié red, which we bought on our quick trip to Beaujolais last March, to wash it all down with.
Sounding so delicious. I've never eaten guinea hen. When we visited my grandfather's brother's farms in south western Michigan in the late 40s and early 50s there were guinea hens running around but I think they were never eater. They were semi-wild. In Hungary they were sometimes eaten. Their name there is gyogy tyuk which means pearl hen, surely from their appearance. I wish they were available here as they are where you live! The dressing sounds amazing. I really enjoy your cooking posts.ReplyDelete
"never eaten" that should have been! Time to call it a night.ReplyDelete
I see I misspelled gyöngytyúk, too.Delete
My grandfather's sister and her husband kept a flock of Guinea fowl on their farm in South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, back in the 1960s. I remember the Guineas well, and how loud they could squawk. I don't know if they were eaten, but I'm sure my great-aunt cooked the eggs. She also churned butter every morning after milking the cow or cows, and cooked rice for nearly every meal (a very S.C. thing to do). Guinea fowl meat is tasty without being gamy.Delete
What a treat that must have been! Even the bread in the dressing was home made :)ReplyDelete
I'll bet that the tourne-broche makes for a nicely browned bird, and a good drip. Very nice!
It's good to put a pan of water under the skewered bird so that the drippings make broth rather than just burn up in the hot oven. Without the rotisserie, you can set the bird in a baking pan on a wire rack with water underneath, for about the same effect.Delete
We ate our Christmas dinner at our son's house with him and his girl friend. She made a marvelous ratatouille to accompany the steak, and she thanked me for supplying the recipe for the ratatouille. Guess where I got the recipe from? Forwarded the relevant blog entry! RoderickReplyDelete
Thanks for telling me and I'm glad it turned out to everybody's taste. Happy New Year to you!Delete
Ken the studding looks really good...nice variation with the sausage and duck liver!ReplyDelete
We just had some more of the sausage meat and duck liver dressing, and I can report that it's very good, even left over.Delete
Tasha makes me laugh. She is just waiting for you to turn your back, even for an instant!ReplyDelete
The house next to the parking lot of where I used to work was a historic one, and they kept some guinea fowl. Those things wandered all over, were quite aggressive, and would not only squawk loudly but poop on the cars, bigly. More than once I was tempted to reduce their numbers.
They are better to eat than to live with, I guess.Delete