When I asked my dad what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he responded with a gleam in his eye “I love chicken Kiev”. I’d never even heard of chicken Kiev before, so I went to work finding the perfect recipe for it. Nothing I found seemed quite right on its own however, so I ended up combining a few together and came up with this recipe.
Chicken Kiev is, at its core, just chicken wrapped around butter. Breaded. And fried. Which is probably why it’s my dad’s favorite. Also why (I’m sure) my mom doesn’t make it for him more than about once every 5 years. There are lots of variations on what herbs are used, but the important one with the distinguishing flavor is tarragon. Classic chicken Kiev is fried, but I just couldn’t bring myself to make it that way. Partly because I was making it for 12 people and I don’t have a fryer that large, but also because my dad has heart problems…and frying chicken wrapped butter just seemed too much. I mean, I wanted to make him his favorite, but I also want to have him around for many many more birthdays.
This dish is time-consuming. Very. Time. Consuming. My dad is totally worth it though. The great thing about baking it instead of frying it is that, I could make it up the night before and have it all ready to just pop into the oven for dinner. So here it is, my take on Chicken Kiev. It was amazing. I feel like I don’t need to eat for about a week, but amazing all the same. Every bite I cut off, a little more ooooozy herb butter came out on my plate. Oh, it was so good.
Baked Chicken Kiev
4 Chicken Breasts
Garlic Herb Butter
3-4 Tablespoons freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
3-4 Tablespoons freshly chopped chives
1 teaspoon freshly chopped tarragon leaves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ tsp dijon mustard
- Kiev Coating
1/2 C all purpose flour
4 eggs, beaten
2 C breadcrumbs
1/3 C parmesan cheese, grated
1. To prepare the garlic herb butter: place the herbs in a bowl and add the softened butter. To crush the garlic, use the flat part of your blade to smash the cloves, then crush/chop into a smooth paste. Or, use a micro-plane zester to mince garlic fine. Add to the butter mixture. Add the mustard and pepper and mix together with a small rubber scraper.
2. Spread mixture on plastic wrap and roll into a log about 4 inches long. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill, at least 1 hour.
3. Place four chicken breasts between plastic wrap and bash with a rolling pin or mallet to ensure an even fillet.
4. Place the breast fillets onto a board, rough side up and season lightly with pepper. Unwrap the garlic herb butter and slice into four equal rectangular shapes (kind of the shape of a finger). Place each mini garlic butter log down the center of each breast.
5. Bring long side of chicken over butter; then fold ends over and roll chicken into a bundle.
6. Place the breadcrumbs into a shallow dish. Add the parmesan cheese directly into the breadcrumbs and mix together. Place the flour and beaten eggs into two separate shallow dishes.
7. Dip each chicken breast into the flour, making sure each is coated. Repeat the process with the egg, and then the parmesan breadcrumbs, making sure at each stage each breast is well coated. Chill for 30 minutes on a plate. Repeat egg and breading steps and chill for a further 30 minutes or until ready to cook, up to 24 hours. The double coating of breading will ensure that your butter mixture stays tight inside the chicken while it bakes.
8. Preheat oven to 425° and lightly butter an 8×11 baking dish. Place chicken bundles in dish, top with additional garlic herb butter (if desired) and bake for 20-30 minutes or until chicken reads 160° on an instant read thermometer (be careful that you don’t push the thermometer in too far or you will poke a hole into the butter mixture and it will all seep out). Serve immediately with rice or potatoes.