Simple Chicken Kiev
I've always loved Chicken Kiev. I think I'm of a generation that does; we all have fond childhood memories of those supermarket bought oven meals. But my first memory of Chicken Kiev is different from the pre-packaged staple that saw me through many subsequent years.
My mum and her sisters are pretty close, but for several years (the youngest ones of my life) her older sister was absent. I'm not sure if they'd grown estranged as such, but they'd certainly not been in touch for years. Then one day, my mum announced that she was taking me on a trip to London (I don't remember the announcement, just the subsequent trip).
I'm not sure how old I was - somewhere between 5 & 7, I'd say. So let's call it 6. I also have no idea how they got in touch with each other again, but I'm glad they did. There aren't many details I remember clearly; I've no idea about the getting there or the getting back, though I'm pretty sure it would've involved very long train trips. I do remember meeting a friendly, loving (cleanliness-obsessed) Auntie & Uncle, and a platoon of new cousins. I remember Raymond (he wasn't Ray, back then) was about 16, and the coolest person on this planet. Or so he seemed, to a 6 year-old. He let me play on his computer, which was a big deal for the earlier half of the 80's. I want to say the game was "Wimpy" but who knows.
The other very clear memory I have is going out for food. I have recollections of it being a very posh affair, but I could have that completely wrong. I had Chicken Kiev. I don't know if I'd ever had the ready-meal kind before, but in any event I suspect that my mum expected something like that to arrive. I couldn't have been any more wrong. An actual chicken arrived (or so it seemed). I don't think I'd ever tasted anything like that succulent chicken, and the potent garlic butter before, but it was delicious.
And so, my gift to you, fellow foodies, is Lisa Faulkner's take on Chicken Kiev (with a few of my own tweaks, of course). It's somewhere in between the store-bought stuff, and that extravagant memory. Simple, but oh, so very tidy!
160g softened butter
4tsp lazy garlic
4tbsp freshly chopped parsley
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 chicken breasts
8tbsp plain flour
2 large, beaten eggs
50g finely grated parmesan
Lisa reckons this is enough for four. Erm. I served it for two. But we understand each other by now, right? Hungry man etc. etc.
1. Start by making the butter. Just thoroughly mix together the butter, parsley, garlic, lemon zest & juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I tried doing this in a stand mixer and wasn't very successful. I'd recommend what I've done in previous attempts, and mash it all together with the back of a spoon.
2. with the aid of some cling film, roll the newly-made garlic & parsley butter into two sausage shapes, and pop them in the fridge to firm up again. Easy!
3. When you think the butter has had nearly long enough, get four plates and a shallow dish out. Sort them into the order: Plate 1, Plate 2, dish, plate 3, plate 4. Put the flour, paprika, and some salt & pepper onto plate 2. Mix it all together thoroughly. On plate 3, pour out the breadcrumbs and the parmesan. Again, mix thoroughly together. The shallow dish is for the egg.
4. On plate one, arrange the chicken breasts. Cut a long, deep slit lengthways along the side of each chicken breast, and stuff with an equal portion of the butter from the fridge. Pin each closed with a couple of cocktail sticks. Now the fun begins!
5. The fun nearly begins. Might be a plan to preheat the oven to 190ºC (or 170ºC fan assisted, or gas mark whatever). Now the fun begins!
6. Take each chicken breast, and run with the following routine: a) roll in the flour/seasoning mix on plate 2, until thoroughly coated. b) roll thoroughly in the egg, then return to plate 1. c) When all the chicken breasts have had the flour and egg treatment, do it all again, but this time, instead of returning to plate 1 after the egg, d) give each chicken breast a good roll around the breadcrumbs & parmesan on plate 3, before e) leaving to rest on plate 4. Clear as mud? Just remember: 1, 2, egg, 1, 2, egg, 3, 4. Boom! The boom doesn't actually happen. It's not onomatopoeia, just positive affirmation that you got it right. Just roll with it.
7. Pour about half an inch of oil into a medium frying pan, over a high heat. When it's hot enough, carefully place the chicken in the oil. Spoon hot oil over the top for about a minute or two, to seal the breadcrumbs. Carefully turn each chicken breast over, and let it fry for another minute or two.
8. Carefully remove the chicken from the pan, and drain before popping into the oven in a shallow roasting dish.
9. Give them about 10-12 minutes, and you're good to go.
It's a convincing win for ASDA this week, coming in at £12.80, quite a way ahead of Morrisons at £13.43 and Tesco at £13.64.
Poor show from Sainsbury's again, trailing behind at an ouchy £15.43.
If I'm honest, this tasted more lemony than garlicky, so I'd probably alter the lemon & garlic ratio. That said, it was pretty tasty, mind, so feel free to leave it as is!
The Parmesan wasn't in the original recipe, that was a tweak of mine - again, you could lose it if you wanted. I'd originally intended to serve this with cheesy polenta, but couldn't find the polenta, so just used up the parmesan anyway. Perhaps the cheese would've been nice in with the butter.
You could also play with the spice mix in the flour, or the breadcrumbs (or both). Don't over-do it though, the garlic butter should remain the star of the show!
Unless of course you want to turn your kievs into something completely different, and play around with the stuffing... the basic technique is here, so let your imagination run wild!
This one pretty much follows Lisa Faulkner's version in The Way I Cook. Thanks, Lisa!