Recipe: DJ Olsen’s Guinea Fowl with Morel Rice

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When Laura Avery and I tape the Market Report, Chef DJ Olsen of Lou Wine Bar is one of our go-to chefs.  He always has a fascinating idea for a market ingredient.  This week, he’s excited about morels and porcini mushrooms which he buys from David West.  At the restaurant, he’s infusing Bomba rice with a morel cream and serving it with Guinea Fowl.  It sounds amazing and the recipe is below…

Roast Breast of Guinea Fowl, Morel Rice, Haricots Vert

4 semi-boneless guinea fowl breasts, wing joint attached (called airline breasts)
1 bunch fresh thyme
Kosher salt
1 gallon filtered water
2 cups Calasparra (Bomba) paella rice
1 medium yellow onion, med. dice
Extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. fresh morel mushrooms
1/4 bunch fresh thyme, leaves only, finely minced
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
Black pepper, freshly ground (we use Tellicherry)
3 cups heavy cream
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground pepper
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 oz haricots vert

Guinea Fowl (1 to 3 days in advance):
1. Aggressively season both sides of the guinea fowl breasts with kosher salt.
2. Evenly distribute 1/2 bundle of thyme across the bottom of a small storage container.
3. Lay the breasts atop the thyme. Top with with the other 1/2 bundle of thyme. Cover. Refrigerate.

Calasparra Rice (when needed, or up to 3 days in advance):
1. Bring filtered water to a boil in a sauce pan.
2. In a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan, over high heat, heat 1/4C extra virgin olive oil
3. When the oil is hot (beginning to ripple), add the rice and onion together.
4. Season aggressively with kosher salt. Sear the rice, stirring constantly (2-3 min.)
5. Add enough boiling water so that the rice is covered by at least 1”. Stir to combine.
6. Cook, stirring occasionally, adding boiling water as needed, to keep the rice completely submerged throughout the cooking process. The idea is to give the rice way more water than it can absorb. Cooking rice in this much water will help dissolve away starch thereby allowing the grains to remain differentiated, that is, individual, not clumping together.
7. Once the rice is done (no longer toothy or grainy in texture, 10-12 min), drain the rice through a colander. Stir in a little olive oil. Spread the rice in a thin layer on a sheet tray to cool. Once cooled, the rice can be stored, covered, refrigerated, for up to three days.

Morel Cream (when needed, or up to three days in advance)
1. Trim away any dirt or discoloration from the stem end of each mushroom. Split the mushrooms in half (or 1/4s for larger ones), top to bottom. In a colander, rinse mushrooms under cold running water to remove any dirt and detritus. Shake the colander to remove excess water. Chop the halves and quarters crosswise into 1/2” pieces.
2. Heat 2T extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan. When the oil is hot (beginning to ripple), add the mushrooms, minced garlic and thyme, a few good pinches kosher salt, grind of pepper. Sauté until mushrooms begin to soften and give up moisture.
3. Once the mushrooms are swimming in their own juices, add 3C cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 min., until cream is well-infused with mushroom flavor. Turn heat off. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 lemon into the cream. Stir to combine. Adjust seasoning with additional salt/pepper to taste. Let come to room temperature. Can be used immediately, or kept, covered, refrigerated, up to three days.

Haricots Vert (when needed, or up to 1 day in advance)
1. Trim away the stem ends of each bean.
2. Steam beans for 1 min. Shock in ice water. Drain and reserve until needed, up to 1 day in advance.

Preheat convection oven (lo-speed fan) to 475° (still oven to 500°). Remove guinea fowl breasts from their bed of thyme (discard thyme). Rinse breasts under cold running water. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Spread a thin layer olive oil over the bottom of roasting pan large enough to accommodate the breasts. Fold the thinnest end of the breast (opposite the wing joint) under itself, forming a neat bundle so that the meat is surrounded by skin. Season the breasts with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper. Place the breasts, wing joint facing up, in the roasting pan. Roast until skin is golden brown (roughly 14 min., depending on the heat of your specific oven).

Meanwhile, heat 2T olive oil in med. sized sauté pan. Add chopped shallots, a pinch salt. Once shallots begin to sizzle, add 4C cooked rice. Fry the rice for a minute or two to warm it, tossing the pan frequently to keep it from sticking. Add 2C mushroom cream (along with as many mushroom bits as possible). Stir to combine. The rice should appear very wet. If it appears dry, add more of the cream. Boil (med. hi), stirring throughout, until cream has been absorbed into the rice (2-4min.), and the rice looks like risotto. Add haricots vert, tossing pan until beans are thoroughly warmed through (1-2 min.).

Preheat 4 large, flat pasta bowls. Place a good serving of mushroom rice/haricots vert in the center of each bowl. Remove breasts from oven. Place breasts atop the rice, slightly off-center. Serve immediately.