Guinea Fowl hand Pies may sound like a traditional Namibian dish, but it is not. Although guinea fowls are endemic to Namibia it is no longer eaten on a large scale. The bird can tough and gamy and does not have a lot a meat. But for the adventurous cook and eater there is reward. The birds should be hung before cooking, and then either braised or slow cooked. If you must, use a pressure cooker.
This recipe calls for meat glue – an additive that binds proteins. This allows the meat to be re-shaped after it is minced to get rid of the toughness. For the rest the recipe is quite traditional using short crust pasty rather than puff pastry which is a recent, convenient preference. The spices are very typical of what Namibians add to their venison harvested during the winter months.
Guinea Fowl Hand PiesCourse: Snacks, StarterDifficulty: Difficult
This recipe for Guinea Fowl Hand Pies looks to bring attention to one of Namibia’s forgotten proteins. Although Guinea Fowl are very common all over Namibia, it can be quite difficult to obtain their meat. It is best to befriend a game bird shooter.
500 grams guineafowl breasts with skin removed
100 grams smoked bacon
2 spring onions
360 grams chicken stock
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ tablespoon nutmeg
10 grams salt
8 grams Activa RM – transglutaminase (meat glue)
white pepper to taste
400 grams short crust pastry
1 egg to make an egg wash
sesame seeds (a mixture of white and black), optional
- Finely chop the guinea fowl breasts, bacon and spring onion and place in a food processor. Blend until a paste starts to form (you might have to stop the blending and scrape the mixture from the sides a few times). Once the mixture starts to transform into a paste, slowly start adding the chicken stock with the blender running. Blend until the paste is smooth.
- Add the salt and transglutaminase in a separate small bowl and mix very well. Add this mixture to the meat mixture with the blender still running. Continue to blend for a few more minutes until the transglutaminase mixture is well dispersed. Transfer the blended mixture to a bowl and season with spices. Mix well.
- Place a fine sieve over a clean bowl and using a bowl scraper or dough cutter, start passing the meat through the sieve a little at a time. This will remove the larger chunks of meat and sinew producing a very smooth mixture. If needed, return chunky meat leftovers to the blender and blend some more. Keep passing small amounts of meat mixture through the sieve till all the meat is processed and only sinew remain. Discard the sinew.
- Roll out the short crust pastry to a thickness of 2 to 3 millimetres. Using a fold-over hand pie mold (what ever size you have), cut the dough into circular portions the size of your mold. Add enough filling to each portion of dough and close the mold by folding over and pressing down on it. You should now have a perfect half-moon shaped pie. Continue till all the dough and filling has been used.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer all the pies onto the baking sheet. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight to allow the enzymes in the transglutaminase to do its work.
- After at least 8 hours of refrigeration, remove the pies and pre-heat your oven to 180℃. Whisk the egg and glaze each pie with some egg wash. Sprinkle with a mixture of sesame seeds if you wish. Bake the pies for about 30 to 40 minutes depending on the thickness of your dough and the temperature of your oven. If needed, rotate the sheet with pies halfway through the baking to ensure evenness. The pies should be golden with crispy dough all the way through. Watch out for soggy bottoms! Serve warm with condiments of your choice.