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 my regular winter dinners. The original calls for two guinea fowls and two onions. Frankly, I don’t have a pot big enough, so I’ve always done it with the one and cut back on the onion.

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

Heat a big cast iron casserole. Rub the guinea fowl all over with peanut oil and season with salt. Lay the bird 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.

Cut the cabbage into 6 through the root and add to the pot. Cover with the lid and cook over a very low heat for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, cook the peas for a couple of minutes in slightly sweetened boiling water, then set aside to cool in the water.

After the half hour,  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 guinea fowl is cooked through. It may need longer, depending on its size.

Remove the bird from the pot and let it sit for 20 minutes before serving. The vegetables and bacon should be beautifully cooked by now, and meltingly soft. If so, give them a good, quick blast of heat before serving. If not, simmer for a few minutes more.

Serve on a big plate, with the guinea fowl sitting neatly atop.