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Roasted & Braised Guinea Hen with Pancetta, Swiss Chard Malfatti and Black Truffles (by Guest Chef Marco Canora)

A web-exclusive recipe from Italian Cooking and Living

  • 2 2½-3 lb guinea fowls, breast meat and breast bones removed, and thighs separated from drumsticks

    For braised thighs:
  • 1 Tbs peanut oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups brown chicken stock

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium-sized heavy bottom skillet, heat the peanut oil, salt and pepper, the thighs, and brown on both sides. Remove and set aside. While oil is still hot, add the vegetables and brown, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Return thighs to pan, skin side up. Add fresh herbs and enough chicken stock to come up sides of thighs, but not to cover. Transfer skillet to oven and simmer for 25 minutes.

    For breasts:

  • 18 slices of pancetta
  • 20 thin slices of raw black truffle
  • 4 boneless guinea hen breasts

    Assemble five slices of black truffle under the skin of each breast. Uncurl slices of pancetta to create long strips. Wrap three strips of pancetta per breast, being sure to cover completely. In a heavy bottom skillet, heat two tablespoons of peanut oil. Salt and pepper wrapped breasts. Add to skillet and cook breasts, rotating 60 degrees every four to five minutes until brown on all sides, about 25 minutes.

    For the Swiss Chard Malfatti:

  • 3 cups Swiss chard, processed
  • 2 cups Fresh ricotta cheese, processed
  • 1½ cups Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
  • 3 ea Egg yolk
  • 4 Tbs All-purpose flour
  • Salt, black pepper, nutmeg

    Bring four quarts of water to a boil, and season well with salt. Remove the Swiss chard leaves from the stems. Wash the leaves thoroughly to remove any sand. Blanch the leaves in the boiling water until tender, and then stop the cooking by shocking the leaves in a bowl of iced water. Repeat in small batches until all of the Swiss chard has been blanched.

    Drain the chard, squeezing out any excess water. Using a knife or a food processor, finely chop the leaves. Prepare an adequate length of cheese cloth, and wrap the chopped leaves tightly in the cloth. Place the bundle in a colander over a bowl, and allow any further moisture to drain from the leaves. This is best done a day in advance. Repeat step two for the ricotta cheese, omitting the chopping.

    Place all of the remaining ingredients in a bowl except for the flour. Add the ricotta cheese and the Swiss chard leaves. Mix thoroughly, seasoning to taste with salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Sift the flour over the ingredients, mixing well. Spray a pan with non-stick spray and set aside. Prepare a glass of warm water with two spoons of the same size and shape. Use the two spoons to form the mixture into “eggs” by pulling the mixture towards you from spoon to spoon. Dip the spoons into the water as needed to prevent the mixture from sticking to the surface.

    When the “egg” is formed, gently drop it onto the greased pan. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used. Place the pan into the freezer until the “eggs” are completely frozen. Remove the pan from the freezer. Pour enough chicken broth into the pan to come ¼” up the sides of the “eggs”. Bake in a 400 degree oven until heated through. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese and serve. Serves 4

    Copyright © 2006, Italian Cooking and Living. All rights reserved.

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