Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chicken Kiev from Ukraine

Living in Ukraine I could not leave chicken kiev out of my foodie tour of the world.  Now there is a lot of speculation about the origins of chicken kiev.  Obviously Ukrainians think they own the dish as it's named after their capital city.  You find chicken kiev on all the restaurant menus in Ukraine.  Russia claims chicken kiev as belonging to them.  And there are those in France who say one of their esteemed chefs created the recipe.  Wherever it came from, Ukrainians have made it their own, and you get all kinds of chicken kiev in Kyiv.  Some are balls of chicken which resemble crumbed bull's testicles, and others are made to look like a giant drumstick.  But one thing they all have is the garlic and parsley butter inside.  Ukrainians add in dill as well.
4 chicken breast fillets
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley finely chopped
1 bunch dill finely chopped (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup rolled oats or breadcrumbs
oil for deep frying
Mix the garlic, parsley, pepper and butter together.  If you want you can shape it into a cigar-shape and put it in the freezer.  Take each chicken breast and cut a cavity into it.  You can do this by starting from the thick end and sticking a knife down the middle, being careful not to break through the flesh and make a hole where the garlic butter will be able to leak out.  Or if the breast has that extra flap to it, you can slice the breast down the side and then use the flap to seal it once you have put the garlic butter inside.  Either way, chances are you might need to use toothpicks to keep everything in place.  Once you have made the cavity in the breast, insert your cigar-shaped garlic and parsley butter mixture.  Seal it closed so that the garlic butter cannot leak out.  Put the flour in a bowl and add the paprika and salt.  Roll the stuffed chicken breast in the flour and then into the lightly beaten eggs.  Finally roll the chicken breast in the rolled oats or breadcrumbs.  In the past I always used breadcrumbs.  This time I used rolled oats and the crispy crunch they gave was so good, I'll not use breadcrumbs again.  You can refrigerate the chicken kievs until you are ready to cook them.  Put your oil in a pot or deep fryer and allow it to get quite hot.  Pop your chicken kievs into the hot oil and deep fry them until they are golden.  If you want to be sure they are cooked through, you can put them into the oven at 190 degrees Celsius and bake them for 10 minutes.  You do want to be careful though that you do not overcook the chicken so that it becomes dry.  Allow the chicken kievs to rest for about 5 minutes before serving them.  Serve with mashed potato and steamed vegetables.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.

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