One of the recipes that I have cooked several times from Jamie’s Italy is pollo alla cacciatora (hunter’s chicken stew). This weekend, we tried it with guinea fowl instead; I don’t know what that would in Italian but it worked well as a substitute.
The first task is to chop the bird up. This takes time and seems gruesome the first few times you do it but is easier once you understand how fowl fit together. Nothing gets wasted – the meat I didn’t remove (along with most of the skin and bits of fat) got gently simmered and then strained to provide a stock for future cooking.
The meat was then marinated with a little salt and pepper, garlic, generous amounts of rosemary and bay leaves and a covering of chianti. After a few hours in the fridge, I took the meat out, patted it dry, lightly floured it and browned it in a frying pan before putting it in the slow cooker. I then deglazed the pan with the marinade juice and also added tomatoes, more garlic and olives (some anchovies would also have gone in if we had any).
A few hours later, the dish was aromatically, deliciously ready. For the curious, guinea fowl does taste a little bit like chicken although it pulls in a gamey direction. I was not so impressed that I would insist on having it again but the recipe is certainly one I plan to repeat and continue to experiment with. Having said that, it is also perfectly acceptable with plain old (free range, organic) chicken as well.