Chicken Kievs

Chicken Kiev

‘This is so much better than something shop-bought’ is often a compliment proffered by eaters and gratefully, sometimes smugly, received by cooks. No doubt well intentioned, perhaps here this is a somewhat back-handed compliment, since the something shop-bought will generally be a mass produced, perfectly formed hump of spookily coloured ‘chicken’ mince and other ingredients of dubious provenance, frozen and reheated. Not that this sort of convenience food is always a bad thing, but here home-made is definitely better. Home made here is also necessarily different, unless you own some sort of contraption that can churn out the kievs described above. These are whole chicken breasts – one of the advantages of home made being you can have a say in what exactly goes into your food – crumbed and filled with garlic butter. So definitely a chicken kiev, but a bit different. Good different.

The garlic butter will probably mostly leak out onto the baking tray during cooking (you can just pour it back over, if you like) rather than stay sat in its little pocket (and, if anyone knows how to help it stay put, by all means leave a note in the comments below), but this just means you get moist, tender chicken breast packed with flavour. To go with these, I like creamy mash with a little of the leftover garlic butter. Rice to soak up the garlic butter would be equally good, as would some new potatoes and vegetables. Unashamedly low-rent as I sometimes like to be, I used to always have my shop-bought chicken kievs with pasta in some garlicky tomato sauce from a jar. And it was good.

I won’t deny this is a little fiddly – and, like anything breadcrumbed, generates a disproportionate amount of washing up during the preparation stage – but it’s worth it. They’re so much better than you can buy in a shop.

Chicken Kiev

50g butter, slightly softened

juice of half a lemon

a tablespoon or two chopped fresh (flat-leaf) parsley leaves

2 cloves garlic

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

couple of tablespoons of flour

1 egg

two good handfuls fresh breadcrumbs

vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan. Put the butter, lemon juice and parsley into a small bowl and mince the garlic cloves in. Mash and mix everything with a fork to combine. With a sharp knife, make a deep slit, but not all the way through, along the fattest part of each chicken breast. Open it out slightly and stuff the garlic butter inside. Depending on the size of the chicken breasts, you may not get all of the butter in (and you could freeze the leftovers to spread onto some grilled ciabatta another day), but what you’re aiming for is to get in as much as you can while still being able to close the slit up again.

Put a couple of tablespoons of flour onto a plate and spread it out a little. Crack the egg into a shallow bowl and lightly beat it, and put the breadcrumbs into another bowl. Lay the first stuffed chicken breast onto the flour, turn it over and then shake off the excess so that the whole thing is lightly covered with flour. Next, lay the chicken piece into the beaten egg, and again turn it over so it is fully coated. Finally, lay the chicken into the breadcrumbs, and again turn it over so that a layer of crumbs sticks to the egg on both sides. Shake off any excess crumbs, remove to a plate and repeat the whole process with the second chicken breast.

Heat about a centimetre of oil in a frying pan until it sizzles when a few breadcrumbs are dropped in. Carefully lay the chicken breasts into it, and then carefully spoon oil over the top of the chicken breasts, so that the breadcrumbs on the top have all been drizzled with hot oil. Once the breadcrumbs are lightly browned, carefully transfer the kievs to a baking tray and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Serve as you wish, and see introduction for suggestions.

For 2, but easily doubled.

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2 Comments on “Chicken Kievs”

  1. Stephanie says:

    Home made will always trump store-bought… always! But you’re right, people can only compare with what they know.

    This sounds so tasty, I’m bookmarking it for a future meal. (Love your writing too, by the way!)


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