Sweet, slowly roasted guinea fowl paired with an earthy, traditional chicken liver sauce gives a delicious taste of Tuscany, says Rose Prince. Serves 2-3

This guinea fowl recipe originated from northern Italy. It is a sweet-sour concoction of sautéed chicken livers to serve with gamebirds, including guinea fowl.

I found the guinea fowl recipe in a book by a fellow Dorset cookery writer, Anna Del Conte. I have admired Anna since I met her many years ago. I was working in a bookshop that sold only books about food. The marvellous Clarissa Dickson Wright was the manager. Anna had recently written Secrets From An Italian Kitchen, a seminal book with unusual-sounding recipes that were very much part of restaurant menu vernacular. Lemon risotto was one example, and pork cooked in milk. So when I saw Anna’s recipe for game served with chicken liver sauce, I knew it was one to be trusted.

This guinea fowl recipe has a medieval essence. The use of mellowed acidity from balsamic vinegar was once a cover for rank or stale meat but, while there’s no need for such a remedy now, an appetite for such flavour has endured.

Slowly roasted guinea fowl develops a lovely sweetness, a perfect foil for the robust sauce. Try serving it with puréed potatoes or braised borlotti beans.

Northern Italian style guinea fowl recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 guinea fowl, cut in half
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp duck fat
  • 1 onion,
  • Finely diced 3 garlic cloves
  • Chopped ½ celery stick
  • Finely diced 250g chicken livers, trimmed and chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 2 thin slices pancetta, finely chopped
  • 4 anchovies
  • 100ml red vermouth
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 200ml Chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp apple jelly
  • 1 TSP to 4 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 4tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Season the guinea fowl and brush it with melted butter. Place in a casserole, with a lid, with 200ml water. Roast it covered for 45 minutes before removing the lid and then cooking for a further 30 minutes. The bird should be golden, with the leg meat beginning to come away from the bone. Set it aside, covered, to keep warm.
  2. To make the sauce, melt the duck fat in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently for five minutes, until it colours a little and smells sweet. Add the garlic and celery. Cook for a few more minutes without browning, then add the chicken livers and pancetta.
  3. Stir-fry until all the liver pieces are browned, then add the anchovies. Cook for a minute and they will break up into small pieces, then pour in the red vermouth. Allow it to come to simmering point, cook for half a minute, then add the tomato purée. Stir again, then add the stock — only enough to cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add the apple jelly. Stir until it is melted, then add balsamic vinegar. The quantity depends on the acidity of the brand being used.
  4. Taste the sauce and add a little more vinegar if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the parsley. Serve the sauce piping hot with the guinea fowl and vegetables. ‘