Chicken Kiev – ah, Citizens, THIS is a classic recipe indeed that deserves a revival! Chicken Kiev is a breast of chicken, pounded thin, stuffed with butter, garlic and parsley, then rolled, breaded and fried. When you cut into this crispy and succulent package, a stream of butter spurts out to prove the richness and theater of this recipe.
Despite its name, the origins of this dish are hotly disputed, although it is clear it dates back to the time of the Czars. Russia, of course, claims it for its own. Ukrainians, too, for obvious reasons, consider it their national dish. The most likely evidence, however, points to France, which was the source of many “Russian” dishes during the reign of the Czars.
In the 18th century, say food historians, French cuisine was so popular in St Petersburg that the Empress Elizabeth would send scores of chefs to study in Paris. One of them returned with a recipe for Cotelettes de Volaille, a dish not unlike Chicken Kiev.
Initially, the dish was confined to the posh dining rooms of the aristocracy and to occasions of state; it wasn’t until after World War II that the creation became popular half a world away.
In order to lure Russian and Ukrainian immigrants to their establishments, New York chefs dubbed the dish “Chicken Kiev” and began serving it in their restaurants. It caught on across the world and made Chicken Kiev a household name during the 1950’s and 1960’s as a standard-bearer for high-end cuisine.
To make the point, Don Draper on “Mad Men” and his date both ordered this at a top restaurant in NYC in the first episode of Season 4.
I’ve updated this classic by using Japanese panko bread crumbs for extra crunch and a complex herbed compound butter inside the cutlets of my own design.
I hope you will enjoy my version of this deservedly famous recipe, my Citizens!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
4 Chicken Breasts
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup flour
1 ½ cups Japanese Panko bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
The Hirshon Kiev Butter:
12 Tbspn Butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons minced chives
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup white wine
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Canola Oil and Clarified Butter for pan-frying
How to make Hirshon Kiev Butter:
1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter.
2. Add garlic and chives, heat 1 minute.
3. Add white wine, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. Let the liquid evaporate until ¼ is left.
4. Add paprika, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat to medium/low and cook an additional 4 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, place in a small bowl and refrigerate.
6. Once the mixture is cooled, use a fork to mash it into the 11 remaining tablespoons of butter at room temperature.
7. Add the chopped fresh dill, tarragon and parsley, lightly salt and pepper and mix well.
8. Form a log out of the butter that is about ¾” thick and place in the freezer.
How to Make Chicken Kiev:
Notes on chicken: use the smooth side of a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound chicken. Place chicken smooth side down between 2 sheets of wax paper over a cutting board when pounding.
Pat dry the chicken. Remove the tenderloins from the chicken breasts (if any) and carefully pound them to ⅛” thick.
Pound the chicken breast as thin as you can get it (about ⅛” to ¼” thick) being very careful not to to tear the chicken. It should be thinner on the edges which will help to seal the chicken and prevent butter from oozing out when cooking. Peel off the wax paper. Sprinkle one side of the chicken with salt and pepper. Cut off a piece of the frozen butter to fit inside the pounded chicken fillet.
Fold two sides down over the butter. Fold in the other end of the chicken breast and roll up the rest of the way. If you have gaps in your chicken, use the thinly pounded tenderloin to fill them before rolling. (Roll all 4 of the chicken breasts the same way)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrres F.
Heat canola oil and clarified butter (50/50 ratio) in a deep sauce pot over medium heat until a piece of bread turns golden in 1 minute. You should have enough oil to cover the chicken at least half-way (1 ½ to 2 inches)
Set up 3 separate dishes. (1) flour (2) beaten eggs (3) panko bread crumbs
Lightly dip each chicken roll first into the flour, then into the beaten eggs, gently shaking off the excess after each. Then dip each chicken roll into the bread crumbs, shaking off excess and coating the cutlets evenly. Place the chicken rolls on a plate and refrigerate for one to two hours.
Fill a large frying pan about 3 or 4 inches up the sides with oil and clarified butter in a 50/50 ratio and warm over medium-high until about 325 degrees F.
Carefully fry the coated chicken rolls 2 at a time, turning twice using tongs and trying not to pierce the skin of the chicken, until golden brown. Make sure the cutlets don’t touch each other during frying. Drain on paper towels.
Remove chicken to a baking dish. Once all 4 pieces are done, bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Drain on paper towels and serve with white rice and veggies. Be VERY careful of the first spurt of butter when the chicken is pierced!