Damien Pignolet

Guinea fowl and cepes, salad of endive, confit of guinea fowl

serves 6


3 x 1 kg guinea fowls
30 cepes dried, soaked for 20 minutes in boiling water to cover
360g trimmed, boneless and skinless belly bacon
4 shallots peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed to a paste
zest of 1/2 lemon, finely grated
2tbsp finely chopped parsley
pepper and salt
The confit
guinea fowl thighs
flossy fine salt
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves, torn in half
some mignonette pepper
1kg lard


Scatter the thighs with the salt and aromatics and leave to cure for four hours or longer if a salty tasting finished product is to your palate.

Rinse off the salt and debris, dry thoroughly.

Heat the lard to 80 degrees and lower in the thighs.

Cook at 70 degrees until very tender and almost falling off the bone.

This will take a long time.

Cool in the fat.

The Stock


guinea fowl carcasses, wings and drumsticks
400g mirepoix equal quantities of chopped onions, carrots, celery and the bacon trimmings
200mls dry white wine
1.5 Ltr good veal stock
1 bouquet garni of parsley, thyme, bay, lemon zest strip


Sweat the mirepoix and bacon pieces with the help of a little butter in a covered pan.

When the vegetables look soft and the juices have been released, remove the lid and brown lightly.

Add the browned guinea fowl carcasses and pieces, deglaze the pans with the wine scraping up all the sediment.

Combine with the stock and bouquet.

Bring to a boil, skim well and simmer for five hours, skimming from time to time and topping up with some cold water as the stock reduces.

Strain on completion of cooking, skim off the fat.

Reduce to about 250-300ml of guinea fowl glaze.

This is for the sauce poivrade but decant about 30mls of this glace for the vinaigrette to accompany the salad.

The guinea fowl breasts


Remove the legs from the birds keeping as much skin as possible on the breasts.

Remove the breasts, trim the wings back to 2 cm length.

Skin the thighs and cut off the drumstick.

Chop the carcasses and drumsticks and roast in a little oil until browned. Make a farce by mincing the bacon finely in a food processor.

Saute the shallots in a little goose fat or butter without browning.

Add chopped cepes and cook gently for a few minutes, add the filtered cepe soaking water and reduce to moist paste.

Cool and combine with the bacon, garlic, zest, pepper and parsley.

Taste for saltiness and adjust as necessary.

Place the breasts on a board and work in the farce from the bottom side of the breast between the skin and the flesh.

Be careful not to break the skin and distribute it evenly.

Chill until needed.

Sauce Poivrade


30g butter or goose fat
150g mirepoix
50ml red wine vinegar
50ml dry port
100ml full bodied chardonnay
250ml guinea fowl glace a reduction of the stock to about 20 per cent of the original volume
mignonette pepper
cold diced butter about 30-50g


Brown the mirepoix in the butter, add the vinegar, wine and port and reduce this to two thirds of the original volume.

Add the guinea fowl glace, return to the boil, simmer gently for 45 minutes. Strain, skim well.

The sauce is finished by whisking in the butter and some mignonette pepper. Adjust with a touch of vinegar.

The Winter Salad


2 handfuls washed and dried frisee lettuce
2 heads witlof
2 tbsp walnut kernels
the confit of guinea fowl thighs, torn into fine threads


A vinaigrette made from virgin olive oil, walnut oil, verjus and a little guinea fowl glace.

Rub the bowl with a smashed clove of garlic then discard the clove.


Wild rice.

Allow three times the weight of rice in light chicken stock or water, some salt and a good knob of butter to finish.

Slowly bring the rice to the boil, cover tightly and cook very slowly for 40 minutes.

Stir in the butter and leave for 20 minutes before serving.

The Cooking and the service

Heat a char grill or cast iron grill and cook the guinea fowl breast, moistened with olive oil, skin side on the grill first.

The bulk of the cooking should be done on the skin side and it should be very slightly pink when cooked.

Rest for 5 minutes and remove the little fillet from the underside of the breast.

Lay a bed of wild rice on the plate, then the fillet and the breast carved twice across the width.

Surround with the Sauce Poivrade.

The Salad

This should be served towards the end of the consumption of the breast. Toss the ingredients gently and arrange on small plates one for each guest.

Guinea fowl and cepes, salad of endive, confit of guinea fowl