One French Bird: Guinea Hen Cassoulet Recipe

Greg Baker, chef-owner of The Refinery in Tampa, Florida, is a 20-year kitchen veteran, having worked in Portland, Oregon and Austin before opening his James Beard Awardnominated restaurant in 2010.

I visited Paris for a couple of days this summer, mostly for fun, but I snuck a little research into the deal. Brasseries were my main focus, as I wanted to drill down and see the food of everyday working people. While hoping to find some great new revelation, what I found was that Parisians eat like I cook at home, so there was no fantastic new thing to bring home.

Thinking back, the simplicity of this pot-roasted guinea fowl just stuck with me. It's fun to just drop back and re-evaluate the basics. It's sort of like an experienced musician revisiting something as simple as "Louie Louie." What nuance can be grasped by re-examining an old standard? In the end, it's still a simple dish, but made stronger by questioning the details.

Related: Rule One, Weed Out The Lazy Assholes: How To Hire A Sous Chef

One French Bird: Guinea Hen Cassoulet Recipe
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  • 1 guinea fowl
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup sauvignon blanc
  • 1 cup good chicken stock
  • kosher or sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas
  • 2 carrots
  • 6 spring onions
  • 1 tablespoon cultured butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Pat the fowl pieces dry with a paper towel.
  3. Sprinkle both sides liberally with salt.
  4. Heat a roasting pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
  5. Working in batches if necessary, add the guinea fowl pieces, skin side down, to the roasting pan in a single layer.
  6. Allow the skin side to brown and crisp nicely, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Turn the pieces over and brown the flesh side, about 3-4 minutes longer.
  8. Remove the pieces and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
  9. Repeat the browning process, as needed.
  10. Deglaze the roasting pan with the Sauvignon Blanc, scraping the bottom of the pan and the corners to release all of the brown, crispy bits.
  11. Allow the wine to reduce in volume by half and add the chicken stock, garlic and thyme.
  12. Dust the guinea fowl pieces with black pepper and add to the roasting pan, skin side up.
  13. Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the juices run clear when sticking the thickest part of the leg with a paring knife.
  14. Remove the guinea fowl from the roasting pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  15. Strain the liquid from the roasting pan and allow the fat to settle to the top.
  16. Skim fat and pour the cooking liquid into a medium saucepan.
  17. Bring the liquid to a boil and allow it to reduce by half of its volume to intensify the flavor. Set aside.
  18. Heat a large pot of boiling, well salted water.
  19. Working in batches, blanch the onions, then carrots, then peas in the boiling water, just until tender.
  20. Remove each round of vegetables from the boiling water and shock in a bowl of ice water.
  21. When cooled thoroughly, remove each vegetable from the ice water and place on a paper towel lined plate to dry.
  22. Bring the reduced guinea fowl cooking liquid back to a rapid simmer, and stir in the butter to emulsify.
  23. Add the vegetables to the sauce pot just to heat through.
  24. Arrange the guinea fowl on a plate and top with the vegetables and cooking liquid.
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