Guinea Fowl

Varieties

Farm-raised guinea fowl weight about 2 pounds (900 grams).

Buying and storing tips

Check the “Sell By” date on the packet. This date indicates the last day the bird should be offered for sale. Meat and poultry should be prepared as soon as possible after the date of purchase, and used beyond the Sell By date only occasionally, if at all. Fresh guinea fowl should be odour-free and have clean skin with no pinfeathers. Frozen guinea fowl should have a plump breast and be wrapped in an airtight packet.

Store fresh guinea fowl in its original wrapping, over-wrapped with aluminium foil to catch leakage. Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Raw guinea fowl can be refrigerated for two days. To store cooked guinea fowl, remove meat from the bone, wrap it in plastic or foil, and keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator for no more than three days.

Fresh guinea fowl should be frozen if you do not plan to cook it within two days of purchase. Store in original wrapping over-wrapped with foil, or wrap in foil or freezer bags. Be sure to press the air out of the packet before freezing. Frozen guinea fowl can be stored in the freezer for three months. Cooked guinea fowl may be frozen in the same manner, unless the dish is made with sauce or gravy. In that case, pack meat in a rigid container and freeze.

Thaw frozen guinea fowl in the refrigerator; never thaw at room temperature. In the refrigerator, a whole guinea fowl (2 to 3 pounds or 900 to 1,350g) will thaw within 24 hours. Guinea fowl may also be thawed by immersing in cold water. Leave guinea fowl in original wrappings or place in a watertight bag, and change water every 30 minutes. Guinea fowl will thaw in about two hours.

For quick-thawing of raw or cooked guinea fowl, use the microwave at the Defrost or Medium-Low setting, according to the manufacturer’s directions. Turn guinea fowl as it thaws, between zaps; take care that the guinea fowl does not begin to cook.

If not served immediately, keep cooked guinea fowl either hot, between 140 and 160°F (60 and 71°C), or refrigerate it at 40°F (4.4°C) or lower. When transporting cooked guinea fowl to another dining site, place it in an insulated container or ice chest until ready to eat.

Preparation, uses, and tips

Wash guinea fowl thoroughly in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

Guinea fowl should always be cooked until well done. To check visually to see if guinea fowl is done, pierce it with a fork. You should be able to insert the fork with ease, and wiggle the leg with ease. Guinea fowl dries out quickly; do not overcook.

Roasting

Mix together 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sprinkle over outside of whole guinea fowl and inside body cavity. Place guinea fowl in shallow pan, breast side up. Roast in 350°F (180°C/gas mark 4) oven for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 180°F (82.2°C), basting occasionally. Let stand 10 minutes before carving.

Braising

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil, then brown guinea fowls on all sides. Add cooking liquid (water, broth, or wine), herbs, spices, and vegetables, cover, and place in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 45 minutes or until done.

Pan-frying

Heat skillet over medium heat. Rub guinea fowl with salt, pepper, and spices if desired. Add oil to skillet, then cook bird in covered skillet for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook another 10 minutes.

Grilling

Rub guinea fowl with mixture of oil, salt, pepper, and spices. Place guinea fowl on prepared grill with rack about 8 inches (about 20cm) from heat source. Grill, turning frequently (using tongs to prevent piercing skin) until fork tender.

To test the temperature, place your palms above the coals or heat source at cooking level. If you have to remove your hands after 2 seconds, the temperature is hot; after 3 seconds, medium hot; and after 4 seconds, medium. More than 4 seconds indicates the grill has not reached cooking temperature.

Microwaving

Arrange guinea fowls in a shallow microwave dish. Cover and microwave on medium for 15 to 18 minutes.

Nutritional Highlights

Guinea hen (meat only, raw), 1/2 Guinea (264g)
Calories: 290
Protein: 54.5g
Carbohydrate: 0.0g
Total Fat: 6.5g
Fiber: 0.0g
*Excellent source of: Niacin (23mg), Vitamin B6 (1.2mg), and Vitamin B12 (0.97mcg)
*Good source of: Iron (2.0mg)

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.