You might have missed it, but a couple of months back Australian food standards were amended to allow a wider range of cheese to be made from raw milk. There are already just a few artisan raw milk cheeses being produced in Australia, four to be exact, and while South Australian dairies only account for six per cent of the nation’s milk our local cheese makers actually produce three of them. Denise Riches of Hindmarsh Valley Dairy produces a raw goat’s cheese, Saul Sullivan of Udder Delights recently released his premier raw blue cheese King Saul and Kris Lloyd, the Woodside Cheese Wright, has a raw cows milk cheese called Dancing Cow already on the market and a raw goats cheese and a magnificent raw buffalo cheese both hovering in the wings, soon to be released. Clearly we are punching well above our weight.
Never one to let grass grow under her feet, Kris has been a very busy cheese maker since I first wrote about her forays into the world of buffalo milk cheese back in October of last year. She’s been playing around with the milk and coming up with some remarkable products, refusing to be restricted by the usual concept of buffalo mozarella, consequently broadening the entire buffalo milk cheese experience for her customers.
Her buffalo Persian feta is a permanent fixture in our fridge and she has recently released Bush Buff, the product of a collaboration with another South Australian food legend and long-time bush spice expert, Andrew Fielke. This fresh, creamy buffalo milk cheese, coated in a dusting of Fielke’s fragrantly smoked bush tomatoes, is one of the most more-ish things I have ever eaten and apparently races off the shelves at Woodside Cheese Wrights cellar door. The yet-to-be-released raw buffalo cheese is smooth, rich and luscious and will, once again, expand the generally perceived boundaries of buffalo cheese, offering a genuine point of difference for our cheese platters.
And, speaking of cheese platters, Kris Lloyd has the whole thing covered now with the introduction of her range of local Adelaide Hills-produced crackers and a selection of sweet, plump dried fruits – all sourced in South Australia.
As I mentioned, Woodside Cheese Wrights buffalo Persian feta is a big favourite here at home. I adore it’s blissful creaminess which is perfect on fresh or toasted sourdough, accompanied by fried mushrooms, scattered over whatever salad I’m currently making or combined with some crispy bacon and crumbled over freshly steamed green beans. The other day I was overcome by a wave of extravagance and mixed the feta up with some lemon rind and fresh herbs from the garden, stuffed it in some chicken and was very pleased with the richly flavoursome result. I wrapped it in bacon (proscuitto would have been ideal and far prettier, but I didn’t have any handy) and baked until done. I used thighs (again – this was what I had on hand), but this would work beautifully with chicken breasts and is simple, quick and tasty. This is not the loveliest of images, but you get my drift.
Buffalo Persian Feta Stuffed Chicken
- 4 chicken thigh or breast fillets
- 150 gms buffalo Persian feta
- 8 rashers of streaky bacon OR 4 large slices of proscuitto
- 1 large lemon zested
- 2-3 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 pinch dried chilli flakes
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Place buffalo Persian feta, herbs, lemon zest, chilli flakes and seasoning to taste in a bowl and blend together with a fork until combined.
- If using thigh fillets, lay flat side down and spread feta mix over, roll fillets up and secure with toothpicks, then roll 2 slices of bacon or 1 of proscuitto around the outside, securing with toothpicks. If using breast fillets, make a deep slit in the thick part of the fillet and fill with cheese mix, roll with bacon or proscuitto and secure with toothpicks.
- Place on lined baking tray and bake in hot oven for 25-30 minutes, until bacon is crispy and golden and meat is cooked.