South African Christmas Recipe: Part 3

I’m not sure if I have already ranted about my love for Bill Granger, but I really do think he’s great. Well before Taste Magazine started including his delicious, yet healthy meals into their monthly goodie bag, I would google the daylights out of his recipes after watching his shows on what was then, BBCFood. I even have a separate recipe folder just for him, which has literally got every dish he has ever made in it. So there, I’ve said it (and proved it), I am the biggest Granger fan around.

His spatchcock chicken stuffed with ricotta, lemon and thyme is no different from the rest of his designs. It’s lean, flavourful and down right simple! And while the cheese allows the chicken to remain beautifully tender and succulent, this roasting bird will infuse the entire house with its golden aroma and look like the best Christmas present ever! So wheather you pair it with some veggies or crisp potatoes and a salad, you’re set for an easy weekday dinner or in this case, a potential option for a hassle free Christmas meal.

I have to admit that I haven’t included all the images of the bird because, truth be told, some of them ended up looking a little gory.  But trust me, it tasted deelishuss! 


     1 free-range chicken, spatchcocked*
     1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese 
     2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme 
     1-2 cloves crushed garlic 
      2 teaspoons grated lemon zest or a few slices of rind
      Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
     Olive oil, as needed

Preheat an oven to 200 degrees C.

*To spatchcock the chicken: Place the bird, breast side down on a cutting board. Using poultry shears or a sharp knife, score along both sides of the backbone, cutting through the skin and bone. Remove the backbone. Turn the bird over and press firmly on the breast bone to break it, and flatten the breast. Tuck the wing tips under the breast. Set the chicken aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, and season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Using your fingers, carefully loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken and down to the thigh area. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly under the skin to coat the breast and thigh meat.
Set the chicken in a roasting pan, drizzle it with olive oil and re-season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Roast until the juices run clear when you poke a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, about 50 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before carving.


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