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Confit of Guinea Hen Legs with Prunes and Honey

Joe Beef buys its guinea hens from Kim Cote, a friend of the chefs' from Kamouraska, Quebec, who works at the town's Niemand Bakery and raises guinea hens on the side. McMillan says Cote hasn't eaten anything in the past 10 years that he hasn't hunted or raised himself.


slideshow Cooking with Honey


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
  • 8 guinea hen legs (see Note)
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • Boiling water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable oil
  • 1 cup rendered duck fat (see Note)


  1. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of salt with the brown sugar, garlic, rosemary, peppercorns and bay leaves. Put the hen legs in a large, shallow dish and rub all over with the salt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  2. In a heatproof bowl, cover the prunes with boiling water and let stand until softened, 10 minutes; drain and transfer to a saucepan. Add the honey and vinegar and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Stir in the ginger and red pepper; remove from the heat. Season with salt and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°. Rinse the legs and pat dry with paper towels. Set the legs in a small flameproof roasting pan, skin side up. Pour in the oil, add the duck fat and bring to a simmer over moderate heat to melt the duck fat. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the legs for 1 hour, until just cooked, turning them halfway through.
  4. Transfer the legs to a platter. Heat a nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add half of the legs, skin side down, and cook until browned, 5 minutes. Turn the legs and cook until browned on the other side, 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining legs. Serve with the prunes and sauce.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated for 3 days. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.


Guinea hen legs and rendered duck fat can be ordered from dartagnan.com.

Serve With

Watercress salad.

Suggested Pairing

Pouilly-Fuissé from Burgundy's Mâconnais region is often full-bodied but has great, tangy vibrancy, nice with the heavy flavors here. Try the 2008 Dominique Cornin Pouilly-Fuissé Les Chevrières or the 2009 Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuissé.

Contributed By Photo © Fredrika Stjarne Published October 2011

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