Afro-Spiced Fried Guinea Hen
“When I serve fried guinea hen, I call it simply ‘fried bird’ because it truly is the best fried bird,” says J.J. Johnson, chef at Henry, New York City, and author of Between Harlem and Heaven. “I also really like the history of this recipe and the connections that it makes. You’ve got this African bird, so loved by the French that some people call it the French bird, and I’m putting chiles, cinnamon, and peanut butter on it and frying it in a Southern tradition. It just makes so much sense to me.” Grains of paradise, also known as melegueta or Guinea pepper, is a West African spice with a slightly citrusy, floral burn that gives this peanut-butter-and-lime-based marinade a lingering heat. The heavy use of spice in the marinade (plus an extra dose in the rice flour coating) turns the coating extra dark when frying. Like all good fried poultry, this is delicious hot and crisp from the fryer, and leftovers are also super-tasty enjoyed cold.