When the world is facing problems like it is today, it can be really hard to see any importance in the mundane tasks of our day-to-day lives. When our screens are filled with heartbreaking images of violence in Ukraine, how can I possibly get on social media and talk about my damn kickstarter? Today I am going to take a break from that and instead share the tiny bit that I know about Ukraine, in the form of a recipe for Chicken Kyiv.
As with most famous dishes, there are many people and places that would like to claim that they invented chicken Kyiv. I honestly hate to argue that stuff, and in the end, I don’t think it matters much. Given the name, I’d put my money on this dish originating in Kyiv.
For those of you that haven’t had it before, Chicken Kyiv is made by pounding thin a chicken cutlet, wrapping it around cold compound butter, and then breading and frying it. The finished dish is juicy and delicious, and emits a trademark spurt of butter when it is first cut. It is perhaps not yet the time for a celebratory meal like this, but the recipe will be there when this senseless conflict comes to an end.
1/4 lb. salted butter (1 stick)
2 tbsp minced parsley (or 1 tbsp parsley & 1 tbsp chives)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 chicken breasts (~½ lb. each)
2 eggs, beaten
Panko Bread Crumbs
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Soften the butter on the counter. In a bowl, combine the softened butter, garlic, parsley, and lemon juice. Mix until uniform in consistency. Spoon the butter mixture onto wax paper or plastic wrap, and roll into a log. Secure the ends and place it in the refrigerator to re-solidify (allow at least a few hours).
Begin by pounding each of the chicken breasts to around one-quarter inch thickness. Pound them between two sheets of plastic wrap to reduce mess. You can use a hammer, a rolling pin, or even just your fists. Be careful not to over-pound them and put holes in the meat.
Once the meat is pounded, season the inside with salt and pepper. Put two tablespoons of the compound butter (one quarter of the stick) into the center of each breast. Tuck in the short sides of the breast and then roll it long-ways to produce a well-sealed tube with the butter in the center.
Heat a pan with one inch of high-heat, neutral oil (vegetable, grapeseed, etc.) to 375 degrees. While the oil is heating, dredge each of the chicken rolls in flour, coat well with beaten egg, and then roll in panko breadcrumbs to achieve nice, even coverage.
When the oil reaches 375 degrees, carefully add the Kyivs, one or two at a time. Fry them for three minutes on one side, then flip and fry for another three minutes on the other side. The panko should be nicely browned. After they are cooked, remove them to drain and rest for a few minutes before serving. If batch cooking, be sure your oil returns to 375 before adding the next kiev.
Serve with steamed vegetables, and be careful when you make the first cut, Chicken Kyiv is known for a trademark spurt of seasoned butter when it is first sliced.