The chicken kiev is of Russian origin. I’m sure the Ukrainian people are not too happy about that. However, I wanted to do an original and I thought the Russian vodka in the shot was appropriate. Sorry, Kiev, if I cause any offence. I could have used a glass of Horilka, a traditional Ukrainian spirit? Matching a dish named for the Ukrainian capital with a Russian vodka is not politically correct in this day and age. But, the kiev has a Russian heritage and that is that.
Imagine serving a slice of haggis with a glass of Irish whiskey. Not cool. Picture a wiener schnitzel being served with a glass of Austrian wine. Unthinkable. No, there are many things in food and drink paring that are just not on. So, we’re stuck with the vodka and I will get on with talking about Chicken Kiev.
The Kiev is about as fashionable as wearing purple flared trousers, a seersucker shirt, and platform shoes. But, it is really delicious and worthy of cooking. It was de rigueur at dinner parties back in the day when it was de rigueur to say de rigueur. Today one’s chances of being served it are slim. The ingredients list is short and simple.
To feed four hungry people you will need the following:
- 4 large free range chicken breasts (skin on if possible)
- 400 grammes or so of butter (at room temperature)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- A handful of tarragon
- Juice of half a lemon
- Plenty of Panko breadcrumbs
- An egg
- Flour for dusting
- Salt and pepper
Chop the tarragon up nice and small.
Mash and chop the garlic very fine.
Put the butter, garlic and tarragon in a bowl. Squeeze in the lemon juice.
Beat the bowl contents like it ran off with your wife. Don’t stop until you feel you want her back again. Get some cling film and add about half the butter.
Roll the butter into a nice sausage shape. If you are dexterous enough, you can do this without getting butter everywhere.
Stick the butter log into the freezer for about half an hour. And speaking of sticking things, get a sharp knife and stab the chicken breast as shown in the picture.
Take the butter out of the freezer, unwrap it and slice four appropriately sized logs. Press the log into the hole in the chicken (I need to be careful how I say that).
Close the opening and seal it with a cocktail stick or two. That will stop the butter leaking out in the cooking, if you get lucky. Set your oven to 200ºC.
Heat a frying pan and add some oil. Beat the egg, on a plate, with a fork. Season some flour on a plate and plate the breadcrumbs as shown in the picture. Dip the chicken in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs again.
Place the chicken into the frying pan and brown the outside one or two at a time.
Transfer to a roasting tray and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the Chicken Kievs with mashed potatoes and an appropriate vegetable. Be sure to decorate the mash with a leaf of tarragon.
Slice the chicken open and watch the melted tarragon and garlic butter pour out onto your plate. Enjoy the aromas and eat carefully, you don’t want to get any butter on that seersucker shirt of yours.
First footnote of honesty: I didn’t drink any vodka with the kiev. Not because of any politically inspired correctness. I didn’t do it because I’m not a lunatic. The day that I start drinking neat vodka with my dinner is the day that I will need to go away for a ‘quick sponge and press’ as we sometimes say here in Ireland.
Final footnote on food and places: So the Kiev is not from Kiev. The Dublin bay Prawn hasn’t been seen scampering around (or is that scampi ing around) in our part of the world in my lifetime. The London Broil comes from America. None of this matters. the Kiev is delicious, wherever its origins.