Fowl and fine wine



If one were to stereotype the lifestyle of a Berry Bros. & Rudd staffer, images of game lunches matched with a large glass of Château Something-or-other would almost certainly spring to mind. Doing little to disabuse you of this notion (although the reality is, we assure you, far less indulgent) we recently came across a delicious fowl and fine wine combination at Surrey restaurant Stovell’s which is too good not to share.

Husband and wife team Fernando and Kristy Stovell, the married duo behind Stovell’s in Chobham, suggest a Ribera del Duero to match their hedonistic guinea fowl dish. “We keep on expanding our wine list little by little,” wine waiter Oliver Vivian says. “The most appropriate match is Avaniel Tinto Bodegas Monteabellón, Ribera del Duero 2012. This is a very smooth wine that does not compromise any of the individual flavours on the dish itself.”

We have hugely simplified their recipe, below, so to taste it in its full glory a trip to the restaurant is recommended. Alongside Fernando’s recipe, you’ll also want to add some sliced buckwheat bread and crispy bacon to the plate, then pile on the roasted vegetables and succulent guinea fowl.

Roasted Guinea Fowl with Salt-baked Roots and Bacon

3 guinea fowl (jointed into six breasts and six thighs)
2tbsp olive oil
2tbsp mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme and garlic)
The peel of one lemon
A handful of hay
Salt and pepper

In the oven, braise the guinea thighs in a light stock (ideally, make this from the carcass) until the bone releases easily. Place guinea fowl breasts in a sous vide bag with the herbs, lemon peel, hay and olive oil and cook in water bath at 64°c for 18 minutes.
Once the thighs have cooked and cooled, remove from liquid and remove the bone. Roll each thigh, still with the skin on, in cling film and refrigerate until required. Re-heat by sealing in a hot pan for colour then add more hay and finish in oven.

For the breast, pan-fry skin down gently then finish in oven. As guinea fowl is a game bird, it can be served medium cooked. The stock can be reduced further to make a thick chicken jus for serving.

For the salt-baked vegetables
2 red beetroots
3 banana shallots
6 baby carrots
6 baby turnips

For the salt crust
200g rock salt
600g plain flour
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
150ml water
2 egg whites

Combine the salt, herbs and water all together with the flour and herbs. Mix slowly to form a dry dough. Cover the root vegetables with the dough and bake until crispy.

Stovell’s ( 01276 858 000;, 125 Windsor Rd, Chobham, Woking, Surrey GU24 8QS