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My family orange and pancetta guinea fowl

Since I was just a little girl I was intrigued by a dish that for me, accustomed to the common names of rabbit or chicken, had an aristocratic and rich charm: the duck à l’orange. I remember that one of my uncles was always saying that he would not stay for dinner with us unless we made the duck à l’orange. It was just a joke, but every time I believed him! What had of so striking special the duck à l’orange?

orange and pancetta guinea fowl

The duck à l’orange has ancient origins. The duck was bred and cooked in China over three thousands years ago, then arrived in Europe much later, was appreciated by the Romans and later deeply loved by the British people. It is said that the duck à l’orange, usually considered French, was actually created  in Florence and brought to the court of Francis I by Caterina de’ Medici, who married his son Henry II… but this is a legend and probably both the French and the Italians had already realized that the orange is really gorgeous with the rich and fat duck meat.

orange and pancetta guinea fowl

One day mum surprised me and made the duck à l’orange. She replied to my Uncles’ joke with another joke: it was not duck, but a more prosaic guinea-fowl. Though I asked Mom where the recipe came from, we could not figure out exactly when she started cooking it and who has passed her the recipe.

It is definitely a less noble dish than duck à l’orange, a more familiar and hearty dish. Though, this is a recipe that allows you to impress your guests with a very little effort, because it is easy and fun to make and has a rich taste, a gorgeous taste of holidays given by smoked bacon and orange, a fruit able to dress up any dish.

The guinea-fowl in itself is much more flavorful then a chicken, has a slightly darker meat and a cativating game hint. And look at the colours, warm orange: it tells a story of family celebrations and cozy kitchens pervaded by the reassuring smell of long cooking.

Orange and pancetta guinea-fowl
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: guinea fowl, orange, pancetta
Servings: 6
Author: Giulia Scarpaleggia
Ingredients
  • 1 kg of guinea-fowl already cleaned and divided into large pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 100 g smoked pancetta diced
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • a few leaves of sage
  • juice of 1 orange
  • sliced of 1/2 orange
Instructions
  1. Rinse the pieces of guinea-fowl under running water, then put them in a bowl with cold water.
  2. Put in a cast iron or heavy bottomed pot a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, the finely sliced red onion and the diced pancetta. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, until the onion is soft and transparent.

  3. Add the pieces of guinea fowl, the rosemary, the sage, the salt and the freshly ground black pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook for about 45 minutes with the lid, over medium heat. Turn frequently the pieces of guinea fowl to ensure that every piece is well browned on all sides.
  4. When the guinea-fowl is almost cooked, squeeze an orange and pour the juice over the meat, add half an orange cut into thin slices, stir and cook for the last 5 minutes.
  5. When all the orange juice is reduced, the meat is ready.

Searching for other recipes with guinea-fowl? Since today’s my Grandma’s birthday, this is her classic dish, the jugged guinea-fowl.

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This Post Has 17 Comments
  1. Guinea fowl is noted as my husband’s favorite kind of meat, but I have yet to ever taste it! He grew up in Ghana, where they run around town free range, but I’m not sure where to find them here in the U.S. I’ve always had my eyes open, but maybe I should check more small groceries, maybe ethnic stores? Maybe we’ll just take a trip to Tuscany…

    1. really? see? this is what I love about blogging: you get to know people from all over the world! I didn’t know they were so common in Ghana and so difficult to find in the US… maybe all you have to do is take a trip to Tuscany, yeah.. 😉

  2. Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is collecting links to dishes using duck or other game birds. I do hope you link this in. This is the link . It would be great if you checked out some of the other links – there are some good ones already. Cheers

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