I thought it was time for a Hen Party—get the girls together, good wine, good food, and good conversation. And being a fan of the double entendre, I thought it would be a nice idea to serve hens.
I love Mario Batali’s Italian Grill cookbook, and it has a recipe for guinea hen breasts with rosemary and pesto. Perfect, I thought. Turns out, guinea hen breasts are not that easy to find in Seattle, so after trying three grocery stores, I settled on whole guinea hens from University Seafood and Poultry.
Guinea hens are a little bit smaller than most of the chickens we eat, and they have a richer flavor. I bought two to serve the six of us, and they took up the whole grill. This meant that I didn’t have enough room to cook them both over indirect heat. (Usually you push all the coals to one side of the barbeque and grill poultry over the over side so it doesn’t burn.) So, one of the hens burned very quickly. The other lived up to its reputation and was rich and flavorful.
With an amazing group of women over to keep things merry, and a tasty meal of artichokes and tarragon vinaigrette, fresh green salad from the farmer’s market, leeks in white wine, crusty bread, and ginger cookies with vanilla ice cream, the burned hen didn’t end up being much of a problem. Though next time I’ll be sure to stick to conventional wisdom and keep my hens away from the coals.