Everything always begins with a good base product. You need to work with a healthy chicken if you want to slice into a deliciously crispy chicken dish.
Good chickens are reared on quality feed and given the time to grow. How about a chicken raised on Riebelmais corn from the St.Galler Rheintal region? Here, chickens are raised on this ancient variety of corn and enjoy a happy, natural life before being killed. This variety of chicken is noteworthy for the lovely fatty membrane that softly envelops the flesh. Don’t be afraid of the fat, as it contains all the flavour, the chicken’s strength, so to speak. The fat is also a sign the chickens have been allowed to grow in their own time with good feed, which is exactly how it should be.
With appropriate care and the simplest of culinary tricks, we now want to prepare the bird for serving as a fresh lemon chicken for the family feast.
For a delicious filling, mix the finely grated peel of 1 lemon with 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, 3 handfuls of thyme leaves, 2-3 tablespoons of mascarpone, and 5 slices of finely chopped bacon; season with salt and pepper.
Quarter the lemon and insert the pieces into the belly. They will release their flavour during cooking. Spread the Mascarpone filling over the chicken breast from the inside. To do this, simply carve a small opening at the front of the breast with a knife, creating just enough space for the index finger to slide between the skin and breast, and carefully release the skin from the meat. This creates a small pocket you can fill with the Mascarpone mixture and then spread over the whole of the breast.
Cook the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes at 200°C. Remove from the oven and place on a lovely vegetable bed of potatoes, carrots, parsnips and some rosemary, then return to the oven for another 35 to 40 minutes.
The chicken is ready when you can pull the leg gently away from the body and the meat is glassy but no longer raw. Leave the chicken to stand for 10 to 15 minutes, then you will quickly realise why you needed a chicken with healthy, well-nourished skin at the start – the skin is now mouth-wateringly crispy and the meat full of flavour!
Happy chicken, happy chef, happy mealtimes! The natural cycle is often the simplest and best.