Pot-Roasted Guinea Fowl with Cabbage, Peas and Bacon

This gorgeous pot-roast comes from Matthew Fort’s old column in The Guardian, and was published a good 10 years ago. With a few tweaks here and there, it has become one of our regular winter dinners.

The original calls for two guinea fowls and two onions. Frankly, I don’t have a pot big enough, so we’ve always done it with the one, and cut back on the onion. I also like to carve the bird into big chunks to serve, so we can just help ourselves.

Serves 2–4, depending on the size of the guinea fowl and your appetite.

1 guinea fowl, trussed

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

200g piece of unsmoked streaky bacon, cut into 6 (chopped up slices are fine)

200g peas (shelled weight) — I use frozen, and I don’t really measure, I just shove

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 small head of green cabbage

100g unsalted butter

50ml peanut oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

a little sugar

1. Heat a great big cast iron pot. Rub the bird all over with peanut oil and liberally season with salt. Lay the birds in the pot, turning them every 5 minutes or so until they are beautifully browned all over. Reduce the heat, add the butter, and when it has melted, add the chopped onion, garlic, bacon pieces, bay and pepper.

2. Cut the cabbage into 6 through the root and add to the pot. Seal the pot thoroughly with the lid, and cook over the gentlest flame for about an hour, undisturbed.

3. Meanwhile, cook the peas for a couple of minutes in slightly sweetened boiling water, then set aside to cook in the water. This way, they will not shrivel and die.

4. After half an hour, unseal the pot, and add the drained peas with a little of their cooking water. Re-seal the pot, and cook for a further 15 minutes, then check that the birds are cooked through.

5. Remove the fowl from the pot and let them sit for 20 minutes before serving. The vegetables and bacon should be beautifully cooked by now, and meltingly soft. If not, simmer for a few minutes more.

6. Serve on a big plate, with the birds sitting neatly atop.