Check out the related video story: The Vision: A Sustainable Restaurant Creating a restaurant from the ground up is an ambitious endeavor in itself. To base the theme of such a restaurant around locally produced food, good land stewardship, and preserving social tastes is even more grand. Stu Stein, owner of Terroir (pronounced, tεʀwaʀ, in French) shares his philosophy and vision.
This is a cooking method that actually benefits from using a slightly older, slightly gamier bird. The game hen we are referring to is a naturally raised Guinea hen or Guinea fowl, also known as a pintade or African pheasant. A mature Guinea fowl has a fifty-fifty ratio between meat and carcass. These birds are moist, meaty and substantially leaner than chicken. Do not use a Rock Cornish hen or Rock Cornish game hen because they are a cross between the Cornis hand White Rock breeds of chicken and are very young, small and somewhat flavorless.
- 1/4 pound all-natural sliced bacon cut into 1 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch rectangles
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 1/2-4 pounds whole guinea hen, washed,giblets removed
- kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 pound button mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms, stems removed but left whole
- 24 baby carrots, peeled or 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch by 2 inch julienne strips
- 2 small Yukon gold or other waxy potatoes, cut into wedges
- 4 ounces brown chicken or game stock or water
- 4 slices sweet potato bread,cut 1/2 inch thick and toasted
- 1 small turnip,peeled and cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 450°F. Place an oven proof casserole dish over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, about 12 to 15 minutes, or until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels but do not remove the bacon fat from the casserole.
- Place the garlic, lemon, celery, thyme and bay leaf inside the guinea hen.
- Season the bird with salt and pepper.
- Place the guinea hen in the casserole dish and place the dish in oven. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Remove casserole from oven and pour off any fat accumulating on the bottom of the casserole. Reduce oven temperature to 450°F.
- Surround the guinea hen with the rendered bacon, mushrooms, carrots, turnips and potatoes.
- Add the stock or water, cover the casserole dish and place in oven.Cook for about 1 hour, or until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the largest part of the thigh.
Instructions To Serve
- Remove the herbs, celery, lemon and vegetables from the inside cavity of the hen and discard.Place guinea hen on a serving platter.
- Surround the bird with the vegetables and spoon the juices from the casserole over the top. When cut into individual servings, serve the bird ontop of sweet potato bread.
Optional Preparation in Advance:
- The guinea hen may be cooked earlier in the day. When ready to serve, place the bird, vegetables and juice back into the casserole dish and place in a 350°F oven until warm.
Yield: makes 4 entrée servings
Recipe compliments of Stu Stein, Terroir Restaurant & Wine Bar