Joe Beef buys its guinea hens from Kim Côté, 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 Côté hasn't eaten anything in the past 10 years that he hasn't hunted or raised himself.
Cooking with Honey
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
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)
How to Make It
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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