Guinea Fowl with Peppercorn and Kaffir Lime Leaf Butter
A tasty and emollient mix of softened butter, crushed kaffir lime leaves and peppercorns is tucked between the skin and the breast and legs of the bird before cooking. Result: irresistibly golden crisp skin and moist peppery fragrant flesh. Spatchcocking flattens the bird, making it a compact shape through which heat can penetrate quickly and evenly. The bird can either be barbecued, grilled or roasted in a very hot oven.
It's fine to use a small chicken, preferably organic, instead of guinea fowl.
kaffir lime leaves 8, tough stem removed, leaves chopped (see Cook's Notes below)
peppercorns red (dried) 1½ tbsp (see Cook's Notes below)
sea salt flakes ½ tsp
guinea fowl or small chicken spatchcocked (see Cook's Notes below)
unsalted butter 75g, at room temperature
lime segments to garnish
1) Preheat the oven to 225°C/gas 7, or the grill to very hot. Line a grill pan with foil and put a rack on top. If barbecuing, wait until the coals are glowing and covered with ash. Oil the grill rack.
2) Using a mortar and pestle, pound together the chopped lime leaves, the peppercorns and sea salt flakes. Mix evenly with the butter, mashing with a fork.
3) Loosen the skin over the legs, thighs and breast of the bird by working your
fingers underneath and detaching the membrane separating the skin from
4) Insert the flavoured butter under the skin, pushing it as far under as possible and moulding it to the shape of the bird.
5) Place the bird on a board breast-side up. Arrange the legs so the drumsticks and thighs are bent and turned inwards, nestling close to the rib cage.
6) Insert a long skewer diagonally through the drumstick, thigh and rib cage on one side, then out through the wing on the opposite side. Insert a second skewer through the wing and rib cage on one side and out through the opposite thigh
7) Place breast-side down on the rack in the grill pan or over the barbecue.
Roast or grill for 15 minutes. Turn breast-side up and roast for 10 minutes. Turn again and roast for 5 minutes more. Move to a warm place and leave to rest for
8) Remove the skewers. Use poultry shears to cut the bird into joints. Put in a serving dish, pour over the juices from the grill pan, and garnish with lime slices.
||Kaffir lime leaves are deeply fragrant hourglass-shaped leaves much appreciated in southeast Asian cuisine. You can buy them in Asian food shops and large supermarkets. Use fresh or frozen leaves – dried leaves have no fragrance and simply won’t do.
||Dried red peppercorns, not to be confused with pink ones, have a warm mellow flavour with a hint of toffee and bananas. They are a rarity but you can find them online or in specialist shops. It’s fine to use dried green peppercorns or good quality white peppercorns instead.
||To spatchcock guinea fowl, or any other poultry, put the bird on a board breast-side down. Snip off the wing tips. Remove the backbone by cutting along its entire length very close to both sides. Open out the bird and turn breast-side up. Press down sharply with your palm to flatten the breastbone.
Recipe © Christine McFadden 2015