Saturday, 26 October 2013

Kiev us a break - my recipe for the perfect Chicken Kiev

Ahhh... the good old Chicken Kiev, that parcel of processed chicken hiding a pocket full of sickly butter rich in stale herbs and raw garlic all wrapped in an ersatz-orange crumb (which would look more comfortable on a fish finger)... I am sure that many of us remember it with some fondness, in the same way that some people call M&S Food ‘St. Michaels’ as it was once known. How we marvelled when children at how, when the Kiev was cut, the buttery filling spilled over the plate tainting everything it touched! Those were the days... 

Let us also not forget its hideously more-ish offspring, the ‘mini kiev’, a mainstay of the Great British drinks party since the 1970s? Conjuring up images of a convivial room reeking of cheap white wine and thick with garlicky fumes. The number of Christmas parties I have been where these little critters have caused a cacophony of recurrent belching amongst guests doesn’t bear thinking about. 

This indeed is a sorry state of affairs and, although in recent years a number of suppliers and supermarkets have started to ‘sex-up’ their Kiev lines by using whole chicken breast rather than reconstituted meat, the sickly butter still remains to ensure that this is not a meal you cook if you a) happen to be going out or b) are entertaining someone you want to impress (romantically or socially). Must the Kiev be confined to the doldrums of solo dining?

I think not! For one thing, they are incredibly easy to make (if time consuming), offering an impressive dish which will make guests go wow. Additionally it is a fantastic meal to prepare for a date or romantic liaison, deliciously seductive... ;-)

My recommendation would be to serve your Kievs with some steamed long grain rice and a punchy green salad with a vinegary dressing with plenty of dijon mustard added. To drink a chilled, crisp Gavi de Gavi or Pinot Gris would be perfect to this rich and luxurious dish

Ingredients - Serves 4

4 large chicken breasts 
250ml Groundnut oil

For the filling

1 pack unsalted butter
large handful of finely chopped parsley, tarragon, thyme and chives
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the coating 

Plain flour for dredging 
4 eggs beaten 
500g dried breadcrumbs 
sea salt

  1. Prepare the filling by thoroughly mixing the butter, herbs, mustard, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Form into a loaf shape and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the chicken by removing the mini-fillet on the underside of the breast then, using a sharp knife, carefully create a horizontal pocket in the side, making sure not to pierce through the flesh.
  3. remove the butter from the fridge and slice into four portions which must then be stuffed into each cavity, pursing down the pocket entrance and using some of the egg for the coating to seal the gap. 
  4. dredge the chicken in flour, dip in the egg and roll thoroughly in the bread crumbs until thoroughly coated.
  5. Place on a tray and put into the freezer for 15 minutes, then repeat step 4 once more. 
  6. cover the Kievs with a tea towel and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until ready to use. 
  7. pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
  8. Heat the groundnut oil in a heavy based sauté pan until hot enough to shallow fry.
  9. Using two forks, carefully brown each Kiev in turn until the sides turn golden. 
  10. Place each kiev on an oiled baking tray and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes. 
  11. Serve straight from oven with rice and a crisp green salad. 

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