4th May 2019

Bird in a bag, guinea fowl with fresh garlic

By MaitreMarcel

There are many local producers in our area here in southwest France for vegetables, poultry, meat and eggs, and several farmers’ markets. But somehow, we came across a small café near our village, run by a retired quarry worker, that also sells eggs and cheese delivered by farmers among his clients. The eggs are good and the price better than on the official market, the goat cheese is fine and the honey perhaps as well.

One day we went for our eggs supply when we saw someone getting out the bar with a bag and a bird in it. Upon inquiry, the egg-man can also supply chicken, guinea fowl or rabbit on order. So, we did. Flat price for the bird, defying cheaper competition, and straight from the farm somewhere north of Mirepoix.

Because roasting birds is a bit tricky due to the cooking time difference between breasts and legs, and because the spattering fats can make the oven very dirty, I have recently starting using so-called cooking bags. They have the advantage that you do not need to add any fats and the closed bags traps the smells until serving.

For this bird, “pintade” in French, I dropped the traditional recipes with apples or cream (or apples, cider, calvados and cream and mushrooms) but went with the season – I had a few bulbs of fresh garlic and I had some locally grown tomatoes in my fridge.

So, I put the garlic bulb and a pierced intreated lemon in the cavity of the bird, added salt, pepper and a pinch of Provencal herbs, and put it in the bag. I then added the tomatoes and closed the bag and put it on a tray in a pre-heated oven at 180 °C. I cooked for 90 minutes.

Once ready, there was a gravy in the bag of the bird’s own fat, with the tomato and garlic tastes.

Succulent and tasty, in fact one of the best guinea fowl dishes I can remember ever have eaten. Was it the bird, or the bag?