Brined guinea fowl with chestnut, toasted buckwheat and raisin stuffing

Serves 4-6 Starters and mains

Chicken and chestnut 4661



  • 2 x 1.2kg guinea fowl
  • 30g butter

For brining

  • 400g rock salt
  • 125g golden caster sugar
  • 1tbsp peppercorns
  • juice 1 lemon plus the squeezed-out shell

For the stuffing

  • 125g toasted buckwheat, rinsed, soaked for 15 minutes and drained
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 1tsp sea salt flakes
  • 25g butter
  • 175g onions, roughly chopped
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g sultanas, soaked for 15 minutes in hot water
  • 100g whole cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 35g sliced pistachios or pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2tsp fennel seed, roughly crushed
  • 1tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 35g parsley leaves, chopped

For the roast potatoes

  • 1.25kg maris piper, king Edwards or desirée potatoes, peeled and cut into 3
  • 1/2tbsp sea salt
  • 4tbsp duck fat
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 150g whole cooked chestnuts


The day before, make the stuffing. Combine the buckwheat, stock and salt in a medium pan and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to low, then simmer for around 10 minutes until just tender. Transfer to a bowl, add the butter and fluff up with a fork, then leave to cool.

Put the roughly chopped onions in a food processor and whizz to finely chop. Heat a pan over a medium heat and add the oil and onions. Sweat for around 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Allow to cool then stir through the buckwheat and let cool completely. Once cold, roughly chop the sultanas and add with the other ingredients, mixing well with clean hands. Cover and leave in a cool place overnight.

Eight to 12 hours before, brine the guinea fowl. Put the birds with all the brining ingredients in a large pan, cover with 6 litres water and allow the salt to dissolve, then slowly bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for 3 minutes.

Run some cold water into the sink. Remove the pan from the heat and put it into the water up to the level of the brine and leave to cool completely.

Transfer the birds to a large bowl or 2 bowls if need be. Pour the brine liquid over the birds, making sure they are submerged. If not, put a plate on top with a weight on top and cover with a clean cloth. Leave in a cool place for 8 hours and no more than 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 190C/ 170C F/Gas 5. Drain the guinea fowl and pat dry. Stuff the cavities with the stuffing mixture, using skewers to seal it in, and tie up the legs with some kitchen string.

Put the birds on a rack on a roasting tray. Melt the butter, baste a little over the legs and body of the birds and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the birds and baste with a little more melted butter and give them another 15 minutes. Turn again so they’re upright and baste again.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large pan with the salt, cover with just-boiled water from a kettle and bring back to the boil, then simmer for around 7 minutes until they just give when skewered. Drain in a colander and cover with kitchen paper to dry out for 5 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C F/Gas 4 and put an empty roasting tin in the oven. Continue to cook the guinea fowl for a further 25 minutes. At the same time, put the duck fat in the heated empty roasting tin and, when the potatoes have dried, shake and tip into the tin, turning them in the fat. Add the rosemary and some pepper and roast for 20 minutes along with the birds.

Remove the guinea fowl and loosely cover with foil. While they are resting, turn up the oven to 200C/180C F/Gas 6 and roast the potatoes for another 20 minutes until crisp and golden. Add the chestnuts and roast for 8 more minutes before serving with the guinea fowl.

Food styling by Linda Tubby, photography and prop styling : Angela Dukes
Chicken and chestnut 4661
Food styling by Linda Tubby, photography and prop styling : Angela Dukes


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