Love Chicken? Like Pheasant? Try Guinea Fowl and Parsnips.

Guinea Foul and Parsnips (9 of 9)I love chicken. Not the poor unfortunate, antibiotic laden, water pumped scrawn that make their way to Ireland’s shores from the far side of the globe. Rather, the excellent quality, low density, real free range chicken available in some better butchers here in Ireland. I love chicken and I like pheasant. So, when I happened upon a Guinea fowl in my butcher’s chiller, I decided to give it a go.
Guinea Fowl is best described as being somewhere between chicken and pheasant in size, taste and texture. Unfortunately, it comes in closer to the pheasant in price. That’s not such a good thing. Being a game bird, (the guinea fowl, not me) I thought it would work well with some parsnips. To add a bit of excitement, I decided to roast them with a honey and mustard glaze. This was a great idea and made for a really simple meal that worked particularly well. Guinea Foul and Parsnips (1 of 9)

Ingredients for Guinea Fowl with Parsnips

  • 1 guinea fowl
  • 3 or 4 slices of Parma ham
  • 3 or 4 big parsnips
  • 1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of clear honey
  • 1 lemon
  • pepper to season

Method for Guinea Fowl with Parsnips

Heat the oven to 180ºC (360ºF). Slice the lemon in half. Season the bird with the pepper.

Guinea Foul and Parsnips (2 of 9)

At this stage, it looks more like a pheasant.

Drizzle with lemon juice from half the lemon. Place the squeezed half lemon in the cavity of the bird. Drape the bird with the Parma ham.

Guinea Foul and Parsnips (3 of 9)

The Parma ham gets oh, so crispy. It adds great texture.

This will do a number of things. Firstly, it will prevent the breast from drying out. Secondly it will help season the bird during cooking and thirdly, you will get nice, crispy ham pieces to serve with the meal.

Mix the mustard and honey with the juice from the remaining half lemon.

Guinea Foul and Parsnips (4 of 9)

All the colours are in the same autumnal range. That’s a happy accident.

Slice the parsnips into quarters, as shown and pour most of the mustard mix over.

Guinea Foul and Parsnips (5 of 9)

The only way to mix them is by hand. Prepare to get your hands sticky.

Stir to combine. Place the bird in a slightly too large roasting pan (the parsnips will be going in later). Place in the oven and leave it alone for half an hour. Take it out and move the crispy Parma off the bird. Trust me, it will be crispy. Pour the remaining mustard and honey glaze over the chicken. Surround the bird with parsnips and return to the oven for another 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow it to stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

Guinea Foul and Parsnips (7 of 9)

The parsnips don’t need to be sold too hard. They are delicious in this glaze.

Try to not pick at the parsnips or eat the crispy ham while you wait to serve. Carve the bird in the same way one should do a chicken. I opened a nice bottle of oaked French Chardonnay (most unfashionable, I know) to accompany the dish. It was all pretty delicious.

Guinea Foul and Parsnips (8 of 9)

Note the very light breast meat and very dark leg meat. Very tasty both.

The taste was slightly gamier than chicken and slightly less so than pheasant. So, if you like your pheasant and love your chicken. Give guinea fowl a go. You won’t be disappointed.

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Latest comments
  • I really like the looks of this recipe. Don’t know if I can chase down a guinea, but do have access to pheasant. However, like you, not a favorite. How about a nice fresh chicken cooked in this fashion? Honey mustard parsnips, wow. That’s sure to be on the table very soon. Great detailed post.

  • Nice to see a bit of game… Guinea fowl isn’t that easy to buy here, despite the fact that it’s a popular domestic fowl in the country. Can you have a think about a nice rabbit recipe? I’m a bit over doing it with prunes and juniper… Meanwhile, I’ll have to give the parsnip idea a go before they’re completely out of season!

  • I’m on my pheasant diet now (with a bit of rabbit thrown in). As you know, it’s pretty cheap here and I’ve seen a couple of butchers doing two for a fiver this week – unbelievable! Oddly, my butcher usually has guinea fowl cheap in the summer – I think the restaurant trade falls off while people are on holiday and there’s a surplus. Great idea to use Parma ham to add fat and flavour to the breast !

      • I use smoked streaky bacon to wrap most game and chicken, which I chop up and mix in the the vegetables at the end, but your chef’s perk is well deserved.

  • Oooh! Those parsnips look a treat! I wish they weren’t so hard to find here. I’m not a big game bird gal, unfortunately, but I’m going to try this the next time I pick up a good quality chicken.

  • Hi Conor! I’ve never had guinea or parsnips. The bird has rainbow like flesh. You always inspire me to try new things. Thank you for that!

  • Darn it – Ron got ahead of me in saying what was going to come next to my name! Well, you up there in Ireland and Sweden: what chance does a poor gal have if your fingers are busy at sleepy-time here . . . seriously, do not often cook whole chicken but shall make an exception for this . . . love the parsnips and mustard and honey together work on my palate also . . .

  • You make the most elegant meals, Conor. Very nice and enticing.

  • <3 pintade! And parsnips. Parfait.

  • That’s a gorgeous looking bird, Conor. I wish it were easier to find poultry other than those antibiotic laden, water pumped “chickens” that populate our supermarkets on this side of the pond.

  • The colours of that bird are amazing! I’m going to have to track down a guinea fowl to try this recipe! They aren’t commonly available commercially here, but people like to raise them along with their backyard chickens.

  • I have eaten guinea fowl and pheasant when traveling in Europe in the fall and like them both. Unfortunately I’ve never see one in our market, even duck can only be bought frozen. Your meal sounds especially good and I agree that it must be hard not to eat the crispy parma ham while waiting on the bird to finish. 🙂

  • So it all looks amazing, Conor, but you had me at parsnips. I don’t know what it is but I’m wild about them. And rutabagas but that’s a different story. We can buy Guinea fowl here but as far as I know, you’d have to visit one of the farms that produce them. Pheasant is commonly hunted and I grew up on it, but haven’t had any for ages.

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