Chef Jason Barton-Browne’s Cabbage-Wrapped Guinea Hen with Brown Butter Carrot Puree

Yield: Serves 4

Photo by Ingrid Kuenzel


Cabbage Brine:

2 cups (480 mL) white wine

1 cup (240 mL) white wine vinegar

5 L water

100 g salt (to make a 2% salt solution)

1 tsp fennel

1 tsp coriander seed

Carrot Puree:

100 g butter

300 g grated carrot

Poached Quince:

1 quince

1 cup (240 mL) water

½ cup sugar

1 sprig thyme

1 star anise

Guinea Hen:

4 breasts

4 brined cabbage leaves


    For cabbage brine:
  1. Reduce white wine and white wine vinegar by half. Add rest of ingredients and chill before using.
  2. For whole cabbage leaves: get a wide pot of salted boiling water. Cut out the core at the bottom of a whole cabbage. Carefully place cabbage in pot. The leaves will separate from each other one at a time. When they separate, put them in the brine overnight (1 large leaf per person).
  3. For carrot puree:
  4. For brown butter, heat at a medium temperature until the butter bubbles: This is the start of clarification. Keep at a low temperature. The milk solid will separate from the butter. As the solids brown, they start to infuse the butter with a rich, nutty flavour. When your butter has that nutty aroma, remove from the heat to cool slightly.
  5. Add the grated carrot, and return to low heat. You grate the carrot to cook it out fast. This should keep a bright colour and fresh carrot flavour. If needed, add just enough water to the pot to cover the carrots. Simmer until tender.
  6. When tender, separate the liquid from the carrot. Place all of the carrot in the blender, and turn on. Slowly add the liquid until the mix starts to blend. Turn to high speed. If it stops blending, just add a little more brown butter mix. Blend until smooth, and pass through a fine-mesh strainer. Season with salt and lemon (acidity balances the puree).
  7. For poached quince:
  8. Peel the quince, and cut down the center. Cut into quarters. Now cut out the core. Bring water, sugar and thyme to a simmer. Add quince, and simmer until tender. Cut into slices.
  9. For guinea hen:
  10. Place a cabbage leaf in the center of a large piece of saran wrap. Remove the skin and season the breast with salt and pepper. To get a nice round shape: Put the breast 1/3 back in the leaf; fold the outside leaf into the breast; Wrap the back part of the leaf around the breast, and pull back to keep the cabbage tight. Now roll the rest of the leaf around the breast, using saran wrap to help. Wrap tightly.
  11. Poach in water until medium rare. (54º C in sous vide 45 minutes) Garnish with nasturtium leaves. They have a very nice spiciness that balances this dish.

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