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Recipe Match for Red Bordeaux

Guinea Hen with Caviar

 Jennifer Lévy


• 3 quarts chicken stock
• 2 small guinea hens
• 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
• 8 ounces fresh chestnuts, each slit on the flat side (or substitute cooked, roasted chestnuts and skip the roasting in step 3)
• 8 small cipollini onions
• Fleur de sel or fine sea salt
• 4 tablespoons butter, divided
• 5 shallots, diced
• A few sprigs fresh thyme
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 6 ounces spinach, well-cleaned
• 4 teaspoons hackleback or other quality caviar


1. Bring chicken stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Poach the hens in the simmering stock for 4 minutes. Remove the hens to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Set stock aside.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F. Roast the guinea hens in the oven until just lightly golden brown, about 35 minutes, taking care not to overcook. While the hens cook, put the chestnuts on a sheet pan. Rub the onions with 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and some sea salt, and put on another sheet pan.

3. Remove hens from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, roast the onions in the oven for 20 minutes; the chestnuts for 25 minutes. Remove and gently peel off the outer skin of the onions. Peel the chestnuts while cool enough to handle but still quite warm. Set both aside.

4. Remove the wings and debone the breasts and legs of the hens. You will get some irregular shapes and pieces, but cut the larger pieces as evenly as possible. With poultry shears, cut the wings and bones into roughly 1-inch pieces.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a deep sauté pan or Dutch oven. Add the wings, bones, shallots and thyme and sauté a few minutes. Add the poaching stock, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour, or until you have about 1 1/2 cups. Strain through fine mesh and reserve. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. Put the sauce in a saucepan. Add the chestnuts and cook until just tender, about 12 minutes. Keep hot.

7. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the guinea hen meat and sauté 30 to 60 seconds, just to heat through and lightly crisp.

8. Put the spinach in a mixing bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the sauce and toss well. Swirl the caviar into the sauce with the chestnuts. Divide the sauce and chestnuts among 4 soup plates, then top with spinach, guinea hen pieces and onions. Serves 4.

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