Though this dish sounds like it should come from the Ukraine, Kiev being the capital, it isn’t. It is most likely developed from a similar French dish called ‘Cotelettes de Volaille’, which literally translates as cutlets of poultry. French cooking was very popular in Russia in the late 18th century and it was probably during this time that the dish ended up becoming popular there. However, the name Chicken Kiev was probably used by New York restaurants in the early 20th century, to encourage Russian immigrants to come and eat at their establishments.
One common problem with cooking Chicken Kievs, it that the butter can ooze out during cooking. To help prevent this from happening, I froze the butter / herb mixture beforehand and added some panko breadcrumbs to the inside to help soak up the butter.
Ingredients (Makes two portions)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 0.5 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs), plus 2 tbsp
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make sure the butter is at room temperature and mix it with the garlic, tarragon, parsley, 0.5tsp of salt and some black pepper. Use some parchment paper and mould the butter mixture into a tight roll about 1cm (~0.5″) thick, wrap tightly and then put it into the freezer for about 2 hours.
Take a sheet of cling film (plastic wrap), lay it onto the counter, and sprinkle on a little water. Put a chicken breast on top of the plastic sheet, sprinkle some more water onto the chicken and then lay another sheet of cling film on top of the chicken. Pound the chicken to about 0.5cm (1/8″) thick.
Lay the flattened chicken onto a new sheet of cling film and season with salt and pepper. Add half of the butter and 1 tbsp of panko to the middle of the chicken. Using the plastic sheet, roll the chicken into a tight log, folding in the ends to make a tight parcel. Make sure that you don’t wrap the cling film inside of the chicken. Repeat for each of the chicken breasts and then place the parcels into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Add the rest of the panko to a shallow dish and the beaten egg with 1tsp of water to another one. Dip the chicken into the egg and then dredge through the panko.
Starting with the sealed side of the chicken, brown the outside in a medium skillet with some vegetable oil and then transfer to a 200C (400F) oven for 20mins until the inside of the Kiev reaches 165C (330F).
To serve, cut the chicken in half. Because panko is used inside the chicken to prevent the butter oozing out during cooking, the inside of the Kiev won’t be as liquid as it is with commercial Chicken Kievs, but you could always make a garlic butter sauce to go with them.