What is chicken Kiev?
It consists of a piece of poultry breast rolled around a herb butter flavored with garlic. Thus put in the form of a ballotine imitating the natural appearance of the poultry breast, the preparation is battered and then fried. This recipe also exists in Poland where it bears the name of kotlet de volaille directly borrowed from the French.
What is the origin of chicken Kiev?
The origin of the popular chicken Kiev recipe is widely discussed, and is obviously associated with the capital of Ukraine Kiev. However, according to Russian historian and gastronomer William Pokhlyobkin, the recipe could come from a merchant club in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
At the start of the 20th century, this dish was called the Novo-Mikhailovsky cutlet. During the Soviet era, it would then take the name of kotleta po-kiyevski (котлета по-киевски), literally cutlet in Kiev style, which will become chicken Kiev.
However, the influence of French haute cuisine is not debatable. As early as the 18th century, French squires and other French butlers influenced the different styles of European cuisine, and Russia was no exception to this fashion.
Later, chefs such as Antonin Carême and Urbain Dubois were even hired to serve the Russian nobility. They brought with them the ballotines, dodines and galantines techniques of rolling a meat on itself after being stuffed.
At their time in the 19th century, breaded chops were very fashionable and immediately appealed to Russian gastronomers. In Pelageya Alexandrova-Ignatieva’s work (1899 and 1916), we find recipes similar to French quenelles but with herb butter very close to the chicken Kiev stuffing. There is also a stuffed and breaded grouse culet recipe.
According to certain Russian works such as the cookbook of the Russian teahouse, the recipe would be the work of Antonin Carême officiating at the time at the court of Alexander I. Other Russian sources attribute the recipe to Nicolas Appert, inventor of the canning technique for preserving food.
In Kiev, Ukraine, the recipe did not appear on the menu of high-end restaurants until the First World War. The recipe was associated with bourgeois cuisine until the 1950s, during the Soviet era.
With the immigration of East Europeans to the United States, the recipe became popular in the New World and chicken Kiev was mentioned in the 1930s. The New York Times published the recipe in 1946 and 1948. Since the 1950s, trendy chicken Kiev has been on all the menus of high-end Russian restaurants. Although associated with the old world and Tsarist Russia, it remains a very popular dish.
How to make chicken Kiev
Preparing chicken Kiev begins with making herb butter. Dill and parsley are used, to which garlic and salt and sometimes pepper, are added. This butter is shaped into a cylinder and placed in the freezer so that it can be maintained and is easy to handle.
The chicken breasts are pounded to be flattened and are used to wrap the butter. This insert is placed in a poultry net and the whole is rolled up on itself. The final shape should suggest that the chicken breast was never stuffed.
The whole is again frozen to keep it in shape. The ballotine can then be breaded in a mixture of flour, beaten egg then breadcrumbs and fried in hot oil. The rest of the cooking is done in the oven for about twenty minutes.
Chicken Kiev is never accompanied by sauce because by cutting the chop in half, the herb butter will have melted and will serve as a seasoning for the meat. The chop can be garnished with a drizzle of lemon juice, a little greenery, green vegetables or mashed potatoes.
What are the chicken Kiev variants?
Chicken Kiev also resembles Pozharsky cutlets, which are made with ground chicken meat and mixed with butter.
The stuffing made with herb butter is sometimes replaced by cheese or a mushroom duxelles. The wing bone can be kept for a presentation which will then be called “à la française” (French style).
Alsatian chef Paul Haeberlin offers a version inherited from his ancestor who worked in Russia, that is made from pigeon and foie gras. The whole is wrapped in caul fat and the pigeon’s feet are kept for a neat presentation.
In England, chef Jesse Dunford Wood made himself famous with a spherical version of the chicken Kiev.
In France, the cordon bleu also looks like the popular chicken Kiev. In Europe and the United States, it is not uncommon to find them at all ready to reheat or cook at home.
Chicken Kiev is a Russian and Ukrainian recipe for chicken fillet stuffed with garlic and herb butter, then breaded and fried, before being baked.
- 2 chicken breasts (with or without the wing bone)
- 6 tablespoons butter (soft)
- 2 cloves garlic , chopped
- 1 whole clove , crushed
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped dill
- 4 tablespoons very finely chopped parsley
- 3 eggs , beaten
- 1½ cup flour
- 2½ cups breadcrumbs
- Chili powder
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- Freezer bag
- Plastic wrap
- Baking dish
- In a bowl, add the butter, dill, parsley, clove and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and add a pinch of chili powder.
- Mix well by mashing with a fork.
- Then wrap this mixture in a freezer bag and give it the shape of a cylinder about 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 cm) long.
- Place this cylinder in the freezer for 1 hour. It will start freezing.
- Thoroughly clean the chicken from its tendons.
- Two breasts will produce 2 large and 2 small separate pieces.
- Extract the chicken breast fillets lengthwise.
- Between two sheets of plastic wrap, beat the 4 pieces of chicken using the smooth side of the mallet and flatten them into ¼ inch (5 to 6 mm).
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Take the butter out of the freezer and cut it into 2 pieces of equal length.
- Place the butter in the center of each pounded small piece of breast fillet, and wrap it well, giving it a long shape.
- Lay the two larger pieces of fillets flat and place each piece stuffed with butter in the center of each fillet. Wrap tightly and give an elliptical shape. The surface should be very smooth.
- Place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Heat a large quantity of oil in a deep pan and bring it to 340 F (170°C).
- Meanwhile, remove the fillets from the freezer and roll each of them in the flour first, then in the beaten egg and finally in the breadcrumbs.
- Roll each fillet a second time in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs.
- Dip the breaded stuffed fillets in hot oil and fry them on both sides for a few minutes until getting a nice crust and a golden color.
- Place in a baking dish.
- During frying, preheat the convection oven to 400 F (200°C).
- Bake the fried fillets for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
- Serve with mashed potatoes.
Holes or tears in chicken fillets are prohibited for this recipe.
Chicken Kiev should be elliptical in shape, with no protruding pieces of chicken.
It is very important to wrap the butter first in the small pieces and then a second time in the larger pieces of fillet, as this technique considerably reduces the probability of the filling leaking when frying or baking.
The most important step is to carefully pound all the chicken parts with the smooth side of the mallet, to avoid protrusions that would break the fibers of the chicken, almost turning it into ground meat.
The task is to increase the surface of the chicken pieces and make them thin.
Before baking in the oven, frying is necessary to form a beautiful golden crust. During the formation of the crust, the inside does not cook, and it remains almost raw.