One-tin roast guinea fowl Christmas dinner for two recipe

Eliminate the pesky washing up with this clever and delicious take on Christmas dinner 
Christmas dinner for two Credit: Xanthe Clay

These little birds weigh about a kilo, about as much as the smallest chicken and, like a gobbler, have a slightly gamy flavour, which is ­brilliant with all the traditional ­trimmings. Being small, they cook quickly and there is less chance of drying out the meat, so ideal for beginners too. You could stretch the guinea fowl to serve four, but then there would be no leftovers. You can prepare all of the vegetables and the stuffing the day before, and store in the fridge. Take everything out an hour before you put the guinea fowl in the oven.

Prep time: 35 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour 40 minutes 

SERVES

two

INGREDIENTS

For the potatoes

  • 2 large red potatoes (500g)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp semolina or plain flour

For the carrots

  • 200g carrots, peeled and cut into batons
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 1 tsp chopped tarragon or ½ tsp dried tarragon

For the parsnips

  • 200g parsnips, peeled and cut into batons
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the sprouts

  • 300g Brussels sprouts, peeled
  • 1 tsp melted butter

For the stuffing

  • 100g onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 sage leaves, chopped
  • 100g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 60g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp beaten egg

For the guinea fowl

  • 1 guinea fowl, about 1kg, rubbed with ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 pigs in blankets
  • A bunch of watercress

For the gravy

  • 75ml red wine
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 500ml chicken stock

METHOD

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. Cook in salty boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain into a sieve and cover with a tea towel. Leave for 10 minutes, then remove the tea towel and give them a shake to rough up the edges. Tip the potatoes into a bowl and add the oil. Turn until well coated, then sprinkle over the semolina or flour and shake again.
  2. Mix all the carrot ingredients together and season well. Tip on to a large sheet of baking parchment and lift the two opposite edges together. Fold and twist the edges together to make a sealed pouch (like a pasty) with the join at the top.
  3. Mix the parsnips, parmesan and olive oil with plenty of salt and pepper.
  4. Halve the sprouts if they are bigger than a mouthful. Mix with the butter and season. Wrap in a parchment bag as for the carrots.
  5. For the stuffing, cook the onion in the butter until soft but not browned. Allow to cool. Mix all the stuffing ingredients with the onion, season, and shape into six to eight balls. You can do everything up to this stage the day before.
  6. On the day, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.
  7. Put the guinea fowl in the middle of a roasting tin. Pour a tablespoon of oil to one side of the tin and arrange the potatoes on top. Put the stuffing balls on the other side. Roast for 30 minutes.
  8. Take the roasting tin out of the oven. Arrange the pigs in blankets in the tin, along with the parcel of carrots, and the parsnips. Baste the potatoes with some of the fat from the bottom of the tin and turn them over. Return the tin to the oven for another 15 minutes. Add the parcel of sprouts and cook for a final 15 minutes.
  9. Lift the guinea fowl, pigs and stuffing balls on to a warmed serving dish and keep out of draughts while it rests.
  10. Put the parsnips and paper parcels of veg in serving bowls (don’t open the parcels yet, and cover the parsnips). Check the potatoes are done: return the tin to the oven for a few more minutes if they need browning up, then pop them beside the guinea fowl.
  11. Turn off the oven and put your dinner plates and gravy boat in, with the door ajar, to keep warm.
  12. Now make some gravy. Spoon most of the fat out of the tin (there may not be much). Pour in the wine and put it on the hob. Heat, stirring vigorously to scrape up any delicious gunk, until it has almost completely boiled away. Add the flour, stir for a minute, then add the stock. Whisk until the gravy is boiling, simmer for a minute, then taste for seasoning and add more stock if it is too thick. Pour through a sieve into the warmed gravy boat.
  13. Arrange the watercress around the guinea fowl, where it will soak up some of the juices deliciously. Open up the veg parcels and serve up with bread sauce and cranberry sauce.