October 20th, 2009


Guinea Fowl with Cep Butter and Creamed Brussels Sprouts

Roasted guinea fowl, sauteed ceps and creamed Brussels sprouts…..that’s what dreams are made of! We are in the heart of autumn, the trees  have the most glorious colours of burnt orange, browns and shades of moss green, what a beautiful time of the year! Mother nature is looking  after us by allowing us to stock our British larders with the best that the season has to offer,amongst which is the guinea fowl.

I always have treated guinea fowl with that little bit more respect as I think it brings  a certain prestige to my dinner table, however I know  people re-act differently, I do not quite know why? It’s not quite as gamey as you would perhaps expect it to be, I love the succulent and rich flavour of the meat. The size of the guinea fowl breast is perfect for me, just enough not too much and not too little,  I would say the perfect portion to still look pretty on a plate.

Mr.P worked late and as consolation he brought me the most wonderful gift a girl could ever want; No,… not chocolate…not flowers… but the most perfect ceps otherwise known as porcini mushrooms. I instantly forgave him for coming home so late as I knew these beauties would finish my Guinea fowl dish with that extra little bit of panache. Erin from Wild Harvest was the kind supplier of these lovely looking ceps.

These ceps brought back wonderful memories of working in a Michelin stared kitchen at this time of the year, when the game, wild mushrooms and truffles ‘walked’ through the back door. The smells in the kitchens  became rich, intense and almost forest like. I closed my eyes and took a deep sniff at these ceps and for a split second I could hear…”smage duex covers at table cinq”… the mixed kitchen French and English coming from a strong male voice calling a check  in the busy restaurant kitchen. Once I opened my eyes I knew it was all in my head but it was a lovely memory of the good old days. In my heart I have the burning desire to still be part of a busy kitchen but my head and body tells me that it’s not really going to happen! C’est-la-vie!

I was inspired to make this lovely guinea fowl with cep butter and creamed brussels sprouts as it’s a dedication to myself for all the years of hard grafting in the restaurant kitchens. It gave me time to reminisce and use those wonderful skills that I learnt over the years. Mr.P always listens to me as I wisely harp on about my experiences, as I share my knowledge of how to treat these rather wonderful ingredients with extra care.


First of all I wanted the ceps to last for as long as I possibly could. So I cleaned them with a dry paper towel removing any soil and forest debris, then I removed the green spongy bits on the inside of the mushroom cup and lastly I peeled the discoloured and hard skin from the stalks of the mushrooms. My ceps are now ready to be enjoyed! I never cover mushrooms with plastic as they need to breathe. Plastic makes them sweat, become slimy and deteriorate really quickly. I also checked for ‘visitors’,it’s not unknown for maggots to make home in these wonderful mushrooms. You check for infestations by looking for tiny little holes in the stem and if you find them and then press lightly and if the stem  feels hollow then I’m afraid the little white fellows got there first. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do but  discard them. I was lucky enough only to have lost two of my beautiful mushrooms. I sliced a few and I sauteed them in butter and seasoning and added it to my herb and garlic butter to be stuffed underneath the guinea fowl skin. The cep and herb butter enriches the meat and secures the succulent tastes. Finally I wrapped a couple of slices of smoked streaky bacon around the breast and tied them together with string. They are pretty little parcels ready to be roasted.


I have chosen to serve the fowl with creamed brussels sprouts enriched with smoked pancetta and finally a few slices of sauteed ceps, delicious!!

Cep Mushroom and Herb Butter

  • 30g cep (porcini) mushrooms, cleaned and diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature + 2tsp of unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tbs chopped mixed fresh herbs such as tarragon, continental parsley, lemon thyme

Heat a medium frying pan, melt the 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter, once the butter starts to foam add the diced porcini mushrooms and crushed garlic with seasoning. Saute until golden brown. Drain the sauteed mushrooms on kitchen paper.

In a small mixing bowl mix the soft unsalted butter with the drained mushrooms, chopped mixed herbs and seasoning.

Transfer the butter to a disposable piping bag and keep at room temperature until ready to be used.

Guinea Fowl Breast

  • 4 guinea fowl breast
  • Cep Mushroom and herb Butter
  • 8 slices of smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
  • Kitchen string

Prepare the guinea fowl breast by removing any excess skin, and clean the bone to French trim standard.

There is no need to season the guinea fowl at this stage as the butter has been well seasoned. This is enough seasoning, over seasoning will ruin this delicate tasting meat.

Cut the tip off the piping bag and insert it between the fowl flesh and skin, pipe in 1/4 of the butter mix underneath each fowl breast skin.

Use your fingers to flatten and spread the butter.


Take the tip of the breast and pull it around to the bone to form a circular shape with the breast (photo above), then wrap two slices of smoked streaky bacon around each breast where the skin and flesh meets. Secure each breast with a piece of kitchen string and place the prepare guinea fowl parcels onto a lined baking tray ready to be roasted.

You can do this preparation upto two days in advance and roast the guinea fowl  prior  to serving the dish.

Preheat the oven to 200°C, roast the guinea fowl breast for 20 - 22 minutes, let them rest for 3 minutes before serving.

How to clean and store cep (porcini) mushrooms

  1. Always store cep (porcini) or other mushrooms in a clean container and do not cover it with cling film or a lid. Cover the mushrooms with a damp tea towel or kitchen paper.
  2. Do not wash mushrooms or submerge them in water, they are like sponges and will soak up a lot of water which will ruin the mushrooms.
  3. Use a clean dry paper towel to dust off any soil, dirt or twigs, alternatively use a clean dry soft brush to dust them, be gentle as the mushrooms could easily be damaged.
  4. Cep (porcini) mushrooms have a green foamy fungus that grows underneath the cap, this must be removed (as in the second picture). The green foam is unpleasant and the taste could ruin the flavour of the mushroom.
  5. Use a sharp small kitchen knife to peel the stalks of the ceps as in the third picture.
  6. The mushrooms are now ready to be used.


Creamed Brussels Sprouts

  • 200g Brussels sprouts, finely sliced
  • 100g smoked pancetta, dice really small
  • 1tbs unsalted butter
  • 50ml white wine
  • 50ml chicken stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the sprouts by washing and slicing them finely.

Dice the smoked pancetta into very small pieces.

Heat a large non stick frying pan with the butter, once it starts to foam add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, add the Brussels sprouts and season very lightly (do not forget that the pancetta is already salted). Saute the sprouts until they start to take on colour, deglaze the pan with the wine and boil rapidly until the wine evaporated and coats the Brussels sprouts.

Add the chicken stock and cream, bring the creamed Brussels sprouts to the boil and reduce until the required thicknesses, this will not take long at all so please watch the sprouts.

Serve the creamed Brussels sprouts immediately with the roasted guinea fowl and sauteed ceps.

Assembly of the Dish

  • 4 guinea fowl breast ready to roast
  • 16 slices of cep (porcini) mushrooms
  • 2tbs unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Creamed Brussels Sprouts

Preheat the oven to 200°C, roast the guinea fowl breast for 20 - 22 minutes, let them rest for 3 minutes before serving.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with the butter, once it starts to foam add the slices of cep mushrooms with light seasoning and saute them until golden brown on both sides, drain on kitchen paper.

Serve the roasted guinea fowl, suatee cep mushrooms and creamed brussels sprouts on warm plates.

Serves 4

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3 Comments to “Guinea Fowl with Cep Butter and Creamed Brussels Sprouts”

  1. Another thought – if you do peel the stems and remove the sponge, save and dry them. Once dry, grind them to powder in your Thermomix and use as a fantastic flavour dust or add to soups, casseroles, etc. This also works perfectly with any other dried mushrooms, whole or parts.

  2. Hi Maddy, having collected mushrooms for the last 8 years, I can identify with your feeling of delight at being given some ceps!

    Just so you know, the green sponge under the caps is actually the tubes which release spores and they are part of the mushroom. I have never scraped the sponge off and we think it is delicious, just like the rest of the cep… actually, we never even bother peeling the stems either! I can understand your approach, though, as it makes the ceps look more pretty on the plate for Michelin star restaurant presentation.

    We are hoping to find some ceps and try this delicious-sounding dish soon!

  3. Alex says:

    Hi Madalene,

    first, thanks for a fabulous blog, I look forward to opening each and every email as it arrives and the simplicity and clarity of the way you present your food to all is a big lesson to us all, I for one am still in the phase of drawling on about nothing in my own blog, anyway as that proves the point, I shall get to mine.

    Brussel sprouts before first frost, whilst am of the view all ‘kitchen legends’ should be questioned, feel that my mothers attitude that a sprout should not be used until first frost is one rule I have held to as I find them in a league of their own after this, what is your take (even though you are using them here), would you advocate this thinking in general or simply doesnt matter today?

    just a thought and thanks again for your hard work.


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