We first tried this recipe after being charmed by a local market merchant and coming home with way too many reinette du Vigan apples, a crisp tart variety from les Cevennes. Like the Guinea Fowl and Onions, it’s a simple recipe that gives a different flavor profile to one of our favorite proteins, guinea fowl (pintade in French), marrying the tartness of the apples with the richness of crème fraiche. Low-fat (allégé) crème fresh also produced good result.
Another apple with great flavor and texture is Ariane. The popular baking apple, new on the French market, has only been commercially cultivated since 2002.
Based on the recipe Pintade à la normande in Petit Larousse de la cuisine : 1800 recettes
1 guinea fowl (or chicken) – 2-3 lbs, cut into serving size pieces
6 apples, peeled and cut into eighths
Butter for sautéing apples
Peanut oil for browning the guinea fowl
½ cup of cider
1 cup of calvados (apple brandy)
1/2 cup crème fraiche
Salt to taste
Place apples in a bowl and cover with water and the juice from the half a lemon. This will prevent browning while you prepare the bird.
In a Dutch oven brown the pieces of guinea fowl in a small amount of oil over medium high heat. You may want to do this in batches to prevent crowding. Return all the Guinea fowl to the pot and add the cider. Cover and let cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Add the calvados, cover and let simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Check for doneness.
While the bird is simmering, drain the apples and sauté the wedges in the butter until golden, about 3 minutes per side.
When the Guinea fowl has finished cooking, remove the pieces and place them on a warm platter. Add the crème fraiche to the remaining liquid and bring to a boil just until the sauce becomes thick, about 3 minutes. Correct the seasoning. Add the apples and serve alongside the Guinea fowl.