Pintades aux Cerises

Pintades aux Cerises (pahn-tahd oh sey-reez) is a superbly rich dish, combining Morello cherries with the delicate flavour of guinea fowl. Serve Pintades aux Cerises with croquette potatoes and Broccoli with Almonds.

2 X 1 ½ lb. guinea fowls, cleaned

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

4 oz. salt pork, diced

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

½ teaspoon dried sage

2 teaspoons grated orange rind

2h oz. cooked rice

8 fl. oz. chicken stock

1 lb. canned stoned Morello cherries, drained

4 tablespoons double cream

1 tablespoon brandy

Rub the birds all over with half of the salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large flameproof casserole, fry the pork dice over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown and have rendered most of their fat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the salt pork to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.

Add the onion to the pork fat and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it is soft and translucent but not brown. Remove the casserole from the heat. With a slotted spoon, remove the onion from the casserole and add it to the pork.

Add the remaining salt and pepper, the sage, orange rind and rice to the salt pork mixture and mix well to blend. Spoon half of the mixture into the cavity of each bird. Close the cavities with a trussing needle and string, .or with skewers.

Return the casserole to moderate heat and reheat the pork fat. When the fat is hot, add the guinea fowls and fry them, turning frequently with two large spoons, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are evenly browned.

Pour in the stock and bring the liquid to the boil over high heat. Cover the casserole, reduce the heat to low and cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the guinea fowls are tender, and the juice that runs out when the thighs are pierced with a skewer is only faintly rosy. Remove the guinea fowls to a warmed serving dish and keep hot while you prepare the sauce.

Increase the heat to high and bring the cooking juices in the casserole to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by about half. Reduce the heat to moderate. Stir in the cherries, cream and brandy and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes or until the cherries are heated through and the sauce is hot.

Remove the casserole from the heat. Pour the sauce over the guinea gowls and serve immediately.

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