A proper Chicken Kiev is something we should all be dragging kicking and screaming back from the 1970's and putting firmly back onto menus. I'd be so happy to see it on offer in a good pub, but I suspect the reason it's not is because it's actually pretty tricky to make yourself. Of course, it's just a matter of getting a good quality piece of chicken (I favour a supreme - the breast with wing bone attached - and I got mine from Hampstead Butcher & Providore) and stuffing it with garlicky herby butter before coating it in breadcrumbs and frying/baking. The magic is in how to keep the precious garlic butter from seeping out prematurely, which when you're dealing with an actual piece of chicken rather than something... reformed... *shudders* is harder than it looks. I've made this exact recipe three times now, and only once did I manage to successfully keep the butter in. Here's how:
Ingredients (no measurements, sorry!)
Selection of fresh herbs - I used basil, parsley, coriander and thyme
One or two eggs
Breadcrumbs (I blitzed up a pita for extra crunch)
Make your garlic herb butter by whizzing up butter, garlic and fresh herbs in a processor. Of course, you can mix it up well yourself if you prefer. Divide into portions, wrap in cling film and place in the freezer for as long as possible.
Prepare your workspace by getting three bowls ready and filling one with seasoned flour, one with whisked egg and one with the breadcrumbs. Have a large frying pan of a few tablespoons of oil heating up in the meantime.
Time for the chicken. Make a small incision in the opening of the breast and carefully pack the butter in, taking care not to tear the flesh further. Fold the chicken breast back over itself and then plunge into the flour bowl, making sure to pay special attention to any potential leakage spots for the butter. Now put into the egg bowl, coating it all over, then finally the breadcrumb bowl. Do this for each chicken piece and then place into the pan to cook. I cannot emphasise how carefully you must handle the chicken! Turn gingerly and once both sides are golden put the chicken into the oven to cook at 170C for about 15 minutes.
These are big pieces of chicken, and once you take into account the butter stuffing and the fact they're breadcrumbed and fried you may want to choose some lighter accompaniments. We had our's with roast tomatoes and a simple salad.