Thursday, December 4, 2008

Harvest of Birds

From Guinea fowl

Today we harvested the guinea fowl that Trent was using to knock down the insect pest population at the farm. They performed their work admirably, but had lately begun to bother the neighbors after plummeting temperatures drove them further afield in search of food. So, it was decided that it was time that they became food themselves.

I'm going to try to cook one tomorrow. As I am struggling against a serious cold and have a load of salami and sausage to make, I'm skeptical that I'll have time to do justice to even one of these birds. All of their muscle tissue is as dark as beef. That means they are going to be tough and need to be cooked "low-and slow" to break down the muscle fibers and connective tissue. At another time, I might have hung the birds in plumage up under the eaves of the barn -heads still attached to necks- and let the natural enzymes in the muscles tenderize the meat -faisanade- like a proper old-school chef. But it's too late for that. The birds (save one) are all decapitated and plucked. Next time, perhaps.


Scotty said...

Could you apply a dry rub or a brine as a preservative to extend its useful life in a braise or confit?

As much as hate to suggest it, is freezing an option?

Jennie/Tikka said...

What kind of a confit would they make??

MessyONE said...

I love guinea fowl as pets (they're really fun to watch) and eat as well. The Boy has had good results braising them in beer - he converted one of the rabbit recipes and it was deeelish.

Bob del Grosso said...

I dry-rubbed a couple today. I'm planning to cook them tomorrow...I have not decided on the cooking method yet... I'll update.

I think the legs would "confit" well. T hey are tough and flavorful enough to come out very well from that process. Actually, the entire bird would make great confit or rilletes for that matter. But to render it edible without cooking it to death is another problem altogether.

Braising in anything is a reasonable approach. But like confiting, stewing and turning the bird into soup it's too easy. The gold standard of cooking a game bird is a successful roasting or grilling.

Deborah Dowd said...

Guinea fowl sounds great! We have been benefitting from my son's membership in a hunt club, filling large sections of my freezer with venison!