Guinea Hen Roasted with Pistachio Butter

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 3h 15m

Serves 8

Game Birds like wild turkey, quail or pheasant were tradtional Thanksgiving fare on the prairie. Moist and tender guinea fowl, the "watch chickens" of the Midwestern farmyard, might persuade you to put squawk instead of gobble in your holiday menu.


  • For the Pistachio Butter:
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh savory
  • Pepper to taste
  • For the Guinea Hens:
  • 2 guinea hens, about 2 1/2 pounds each OR three or four 1-1 1/2 pound(s) Cornish game hens
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth


TO MAKE PISTACHIO BUTTER: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the pistachios in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Place the toasted pistachios, butter, shallots, lemon juice and savory in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely chopped. Season with pepper to taste; set aside.

TO PREPARE THE HENS: Carefully separate the skin from the breast and legs by easing your index finger between the skin and the meat of each hen. Spread 1/4 of the Pistachio Butter between the skin and the meat of each Guinea hen with your finger or a narrow rubber spatula. (Use about 2 tablespoons for each hen.) Reserve the remaining Pistachio Butter for basting. Cover and chill the hens for 1 to 2 hours.

Sprinkle each body cavity with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the onion, carrot and celery. Divide the mixture evenly between each body cavity. Tuck the ends of the drumstick under the band of skin across the tail. If band of skin is not present, tie the drumstick securely to the tail. Twist the wing tips under the back. Place the hens on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the chicken stock or broth and the remaining Pistachio Butter. Cook and stir over low heat until the butter is melted. Brush the hens with the Pistachio Butter-chicken stock mixture. Return the hens to the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours more for the Guinea hens (40 to 50 minutes more for Cornish Game hens), or until the thermometer registers 180 degrees F, or until the drumsticks move easily in their sockets and juices run clear. Remove the hens from the oven and cover with foil. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 4228

nutrition information per serving

340 calories; 23g total fat; 130mg cholesterol; 109mg sodium; 5g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 29g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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