Breast of guinea fowl with honey and thyme
Guinea fowl imparts a slightly gamey flavor to this succulent dish with seductive echoes of Provence. But of course guinea fowl is not available everywhere. Not to worry — make the recipe with chicken or duck instead.
If using chicken, avoid the skinless breasts sold these days. You will need a proper chicken breast with bones and wing attached. To create the cut known in France as a suprême, remove the two smaller joints of the wing, leaving only the larger joint attached to the breast. Or you may remove the wing altogether for easier handling. If using duck, choose a filet with the fat and skin attached. One duck filet is enough for two people.
2 breasts of guinea fowl or chicken, or 1 duck filet
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 leafy branches fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil to sizzling in a deep skillet and add the poultry, skin side down. Set the heat at medium high and allow to brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the poultry and cook the other side for 4 minutes more.
When the poultry is nicely browned on all sides – it should be a deep golden color – add the garlic and stir-fry briefly, about 20 seconds. Then add the thyme, stripping the leaves from the branch right over the pan. Stir-fry for another 20 seconds.
Add the honey and water and stir to blend. Add the salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, partially covered.
You want the poultry to be just tender, not overcooked, so check after about 10 minutes to see how it’s doing. You can tell whether it’s done done by inserting a fork into a deep section. If using guinea fowl or chicken and the juice runs clear, it’s ready; if the juice is pink, cook for 5 minutes more. If using duck, which should be served medium rare, it’s ready as soon as the juice runs pink, not red.
Serve as a main course with seasonal vegetables and a fruity red wine. Serves 2.
This dish may be prepared ahead of time – simply cut the the simmering time from 15 to 10 minutes. When nearly ready to serve, bring back to a simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes more.