Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!
Thanks Audax, I used a new technique for this challenge. Brining is a technique for making potentially dry meat more moist and improve its taste. It is recommended for chicken, and also for turkey. Now, we didn’t invite any guests, and we are only two persons so chicken (the happy ones from the market are 2.5 kilo) and turkey were not such a good idea. But according to Audax instructions, it works with other fowl as well, and since I got to the market last Saturday early, I had plenty of choice at my favorite poultry stand. One of the things they had on offer was guinea fowl, 1.3 kilos, so good for two persons (well two persons and a meal of leftovers obviously). I had never eaten nor made it, so I thought that it might be an interesting choice.
At home I first googled the bird, to see what it looks when it’s still alive. It is one campy chicken! Pretty! Once dead it is still pretty. It has a thick layer of fat beneath the skin (more so than chicken, even organic chicken, but less than duck), the meat is darker, not as red as duck, but definitely redder then chicken. To go with it I bought potatoes and carrots in three colours (also very pretty), to roast.
I first made 1.5 liter of the brine, with 1.5 liter of water, 105 grams of salt (normal kitchen salt), three tablespoons of sugar. And for fun I added garlic, some pepper corns and rosemary. No idea whether that had an effect at all to be honest. But it smelled and looked good. I mixed some boiling water with the salt and sugar, then added the rest of the cold water until I got 1.5 liter. Then I added the rest, and of course the bird. This went into the fridge for 2.5 hours (I had read some comments on the forum of the daring kitchen that said their chicken was a bit too salty, so I decided to be careful about brining duration. As a matter of fact, timing was perfect. After sitting in the fridge, I patted the bird dry, put it on a plate back in the fridge to dry as good as possible, until it was time to go into the oven.
I put some olive oil in the baking tray, the bird got limes in it, and I put pepper and some fresh thymian on it. That was basically it. O no, I forgot, I put a little speck on the breast, to keeping it moist. Which was probably not needed because of the brining, and it made the skin there too salty (only there). It was joined by unpeeled halved potatoes. In another baking tray I put the colored carrots, cause I figured they needed less time. The timing instructions for the guinea fowl turned out to be not completely right, or at least not for my oven, bird and baking tray. I had preheated at 180 degrees and had it in the oven for 50 minutes, but it wasn’t done yet, all in all I think I had it in the oven for almost 1,5 hours, but then, it was perfect! So were the potatoes. The carrots were roasted at 180 degrees, with some olive oil, salt and pepper and a little bit of white wine, for about 40 minutes. They too, were great.
And this was the result: a great meal, with really not much effort. I liked the guinea fowl a lot. The meat was juicy, it tasted like chicken, but then again, not also a bit more in the direction of game. Not an extremely gamey taste, though. Good bird, I will buy it again. And I will definitely use the brining technique again, it gives the meat a very good taste.