The Definition Of A Fowl And A Guineafowl Recipe

In colloquial usage the term 'fowl' is often used of any bird that's consumed by people. As such it includes both domestic and game birds. In scientific usage, however, the birds classed as 'fowl' belong to two types either the landfowl (Galliformes) [ie chicken-like birds] or the waterfowl (Anseriformes) [ducks etc].

These two groups of birds are actually very closely related though they did evolve and separate over 100 million years ago. Indeed, the fossil evidence strongly suggest that fully-modern fowl existed during the Cretaceous period, at the time of the dinosaurs. They are thus a very ancient lineage of birds.

A feature of fowl is that they can be readily domesticated and that they also readily interbreed (for example a hybrid between chickens and guine fowl is possible) and there is a big problem in wild duck problems in that mallards readily interbreed with almost every other species of ducks, producing viable hybrids that dilute-out the wild population. Though the same ability to readily hybridize can be used by breeders to develop strains (such as the Gresingham duck) with larger breasts and legs or more flavoursome meat.

Of course, most domesticated birds intended for the table (chickens, turkeys, guineafowl, ducks, geese) are fowl in the scientific sense of the word and that's why there is such confusion in the usage of the word. For example, ostriches are quite commonly farmed for their meat and are often, colloquially, termed as 'fpwl'. But they are not fowl in the true sense of the word. And though the majority of game birds, such as pheasants, geese and ducks are true fowl, other game birds such as woodcock and pigeons are not true fowl.

Below is a classic recipe for one of the most flavoursome of the fowl birds, the guineafowl.

Roast Guineafowl with Grapes

50g butter
2 tbsp oil
2 guinea fowl, each cut into 4 pieces (quartered)
8 shallots
500g seedless black grapes
450ml grape juice (unsweetened)
300ml dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
350g brown rice
3 tbsp chopped tarragon

Use a large flameproof casserole dish. Place on the hob then add half the oil and butter and heat. When hot use to fry the guineafowl pieces until browned all over. Now add the shallots, 350g of the grapes the grape juice and the wine to the dish and season with salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

Cover and transfer to an oven pre-heated to 160°C. Roast for 20 minutes then add the rice, stir in and cook for a further 40 minutes, or until the guinea fowl pieces are tender and the rice is cooked through.

Remove from the oven, stir-in the remaining butter and the tarragon and spoon onto a seving dish. Garnish with the remaining grapes and serve with steamed green vegetables.

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About The Author, Gwydion
Dyfed Lloyd Evans runs the Celtnet Recipes site where you can find hundreds of recipes for cooking fowl as well as a large number of recipes for preparing chicken.