Have you ever bought boxed, frozen chicken kiev? Not a bad thing to have stashed in the freezer for those busy nights when you could not be bothered cooking right?
Why on earth would you bother making your own? Mucking around with pounding out chicken, making compound butter, even making the breadcrumbs yourself? Well, it occurred to men that this freezer staple could actually go from ho-hum to something truly amazing if care was taken at every step.
Seasoning everything just right, using good quality free range chicken, sour dough bread for the crumbs and controlling every aspect of what goes into it – suddenly chicken kiev became very appealing. Just for fun, I grabbed a packet of frozen kievs whilst in the supermarket and checked out the ingredient list (picture below).
Wowzers right? Look at those numbers and weird ingredients! Why ingest all of those yucky things?
Whilst they are a bit fiddly to make, the best thing is that once you’ve made them, you can keep them in the freezer. Cook them from frozen and just add an extra 10-15 minutes cooking time.
Compound Herb Butter
125g butter, softened
1 tablespoon thyme tips
2 tablespoons parsley
juice 1 lemon
salt and pepper
150g stale sourdough bread (or thereabouts, 3-4 slices)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken breast fillets (without tenderloins)
1 cup plain flour
3 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon dijon or hot english mustard
To make the herb butter, pop the eschallot, thyme and parsley into a small food processor and chop until fine. (Alternatively, chop very finely by hand).
Add the butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the food processor and blend until just combined.
Remove with a rubber spatula and place in some plastic wrap in a flat even layer then pop into the fridge to firm up.
Whilst the butter is chilling, make your bread crumbs. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius. Tear up the bread into chunks then throw into the food processor. Add a little salt and pepper to season as well as the olive oil. Process until you get fine even crumbs. Tip the crumbs onto a baking sheet and bake for around 15-20 minutes until slightly golden (stirring a couple of times to get even browning). Set aside
Now you can get on with butterflying the chicken. What you want to do is open the breast up like a book by slicing it through the middle lengthwise without cutting it all the way through. Using a mallet or rolling pin, flatten the chicken breast between two sheets of glad wrap. You want it fairly thin, but be careful not to get too many holes in it (if any) because you want to try and keep the butter inside. Try to flatten the edges slightly thinner than the middle, this will also help to get a good seal on the chicken. Take a look at the picture below. To fold the kiev, place a quarter of the compound herb butter on one half then fold the chicken over. Press down well to seal as you go. Fold the edges in like you would a burrito then roll it up.
Once you’ve completed all the breasts, put them in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This will help the chicken proteins to bond and seal.
After one hour is up, preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Have a baking tray ready. Set up your breading station by popping the crumbs in one shallow plate, flour in another and beaten eggs in another. Lightly dust a breast with flour, tapping off any excess, then into the egg and finally into the crumbs. Place the kiev on the baking tray. Repeat until all are completed.
Bake for 45 minutes until golden all over. Serve with salad or steamed vegetables.