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Five-Spice Roasted Guinea Fowl

Whole Guinea Fowl, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons five-spice powder *
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, as needed

For the sauce
1 cup dry white wine
Zest of 1 1/2 navel oranges, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
8 x 1/4-inch-thick slices of fresh gingerroot, crushed lightly with the flat side of a large knife
3 whole star anise*
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

In a small bowl stir together the five-spice powder and 2 tablespoons of the oil, rub the mixture on the Guinea fowl, and season the Guinea Fowl with salt.

In a large heavy skillet heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking brown the hens lightly, 1 at a time.

Arrange the browned Guinea Fowl, breast side down, in 2 roasting pans and roast them in a preheated 350?F. oven, (switching the pans from one rack to the other after 30 minutes) for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the fleshy part of the thigh registers 170?F.

Transfer the Guinea Fowl to a cutting board and let them stand, covered loosely with foil, for 15 minutes.

Make the sauce while the hens are standing:

Skim the fat from the pan juices, divide the wine between the pans, and deglaze the pans over high heat, scraping up the brown bits.

Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan, add the orange zest, gingerroot, and star anise,. B oil the mixture until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Add the broth, water, and the soy sauce and cook the mixture at a slow boil for 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, into the zest mixture, and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a saucepan and keep it warm.

Carve the Guinea fowl, arrange the meat on a heated plate. Spoon some of the sauce over Guinea Fowl carvings and serve the remaining sauce separately.

* Available at Asian markets, specialty foods shops, and some supermarkets


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