If you’re wondering what Chicken Kiev is, all you need to know is this: it’s crumbed and fried chicken stuffed with melting garlic butter. Totally retro, totally simple but totally fabulous and quite possibly the greatest use of chicken breast, ever!
The trick to ensuring the melted butter stays firmly sealed inside? Partially freezing the chicken. Yep, it’s that easy!
Stuffed things are good things. Dumplings. Profiteroles. Samosas. The anticipation of cutting into something that looks so plain and unassuming on the outside to reveal something wickedly good on the inside, is like opening a tantalising birthday present.
Of all the stuffed chicken dishes in this world, Chicken Kiev is surely the king of them all! Stuffed with rich garlic butter, this Russian beauty is all kinds of incredible. Cutting through that crunchy, golden breadcrumb crust and into the juicy chicken flesh, a river of molten butter oozes from the meat across your plate – it’s a heart-stopping moment of joy that few things in this world can rival. In fact, right now I can’t think of anything that does!!!
What goes in Chicken Kiev
Garlic butter stuffing for Chicken Kiev
Here’s what you need to make the garlic butter that goes inside Chicken Kiev:
Butter – Of course! Softened and unsalted;
Garlic – Finely minced using a knife or using a garlic crusher;
Parsley – Finely chopped.
Crumbed chicken for Chicken Kiev
And here’s what you need to make the crumbed chicken:
Chicken breast – The best cut for pounding into a large, flat “sheet” used to roll up the garlic butter;
Panko breadcrumbs – Better than ordinary breadcrumbs because they’re slightly larger pieces which yield a better crunch!
Flour and egg – The binding agents to make the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken.
How to make Chicken Kiev
It’s as straightforward as it comes:
Roll up pounded chicken breast with garlic butter inside;
Bake, to finish cooking.
Part 1. Garlic butter stuffing for Chicken Kiev
Mix the softened butter with salt, parsley and garlic until smooth;
Spread butter on to parchment / baking paper into a 10 x 6cm / 4 x 2.3″ rectangle. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just roughly is fine!
Refrigerate until firm, then cut lengthwise into 2 pieces.
Part 2. Stuffing the Chicken Kiev
Pound chicken – Place a chicken breast between two freezer bags (or, as I do, use “Go Between” freeze film). Place the chicken presentation side down so that side stays neat and flat.
Now pound the chicken using a meat mallet (or rolling pin, can, truncheon or other tool of choice) until it is 0.5cm / 0.2″ thick. In a perfect world, you’d achieve a neat rectangle shape. But the world is not perfect. So if you’re like me, you’ll end up with scrappy bits and a wonky shape, and that’s totally ok.
Just be careful not to tear the chicken. But if you do, don’t worry, we will patch it up to keep all that golden garlic butter goodness inside!
Season and stuff – Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Then place a baton of butter in the middle;
Wrap – Fold the sides in. Then starting from the bottom, roll the chicken up into a log (like a burrito!);
Finish with the seam side down so it stays together;
Wrap with cling wrap, twisting the ends so it tightens into a log; and
Freeze for 30 minutes to partially firm for easier handling when coating with breadcrumbs, and to ensure the chicken stays sealed for less risk of butter leakage.
Part 3: Coating and cooking
Flour – Once the outside of the chicken is fairly firm to touch (but not rock solid frozen), unwrap and roll in flour. Make sure you coat the ends too. Then shake off excess;
Egg – Next, roll in lightly whisked egg;
Breadcrumbs – Then roll in breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere;
Partially freeze again – Place the crumbed chicken back in the freezer for 30 minutes to partially freeze so the outside firms up again. As with the first partial freezing, this ensures the chicken holds its shape and the crumb coating + chicken wrapping doesn’t shift when putting the chicken in the oil so it remains sealed to keep the butter inside;
Fry until golden – Next, fry the chicken until it’s golden on the outside, just 2 to 3 minutes. It will still be raw inside, so we will finish it in the oven. We can’t cook it completely when deep frying because the shape of the Chicken Kiev is too thick for it to cook through inside before the outside becomes overly brown; and
Bake – Finish in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 65°C / 149°F. When inserting the tip of the meat thermometer to check, be sure to only pierce the flesh partway through so you don’t make a hole that causes the butter to ooze out!
The Kiev looks so quiet and unassuming, out of the oven!! But then you cut into it. A small dribble of butter starts leak out …
…. keep cutting and the dribble turns into a butter torrent as you cut all the way through! ↓↓↓
That moment when the butter spills out of the chicken and all over your plate like a self-saucing chicken dinner is one of the most satisfying food moments you’ll ever experience.
It might be retro, but food this good will NEVER go out of fashion, for good reason!
Serve this decadent chicken dish with a big leafy salad tossed with a simple salad dressing. If you want to go all out, do as I’ve done and add a side of Mini Potato Dauphinoise! Though if that’s not within your reach or time constraints are inhibiting you, at least add a side of mashed potato or crusty bread as the perfect vehicles for mopping.
Enjoy! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Garlic Butter Stuffing:
- 6 tbsp / 90g unsalted butter , softened (or salted butter)
- 2 tsp parsley , finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , very finely minced (2 tsp)
- 1/4 tsp salt (skip if using salted butter)
- 2 x 220 – 250g (7 – 8oz) chicken breast , skinless and boneless (Note 1)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 egg , lightly whisked
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (Note 2)
- Oil for frying , canola or vegetable oil (~4 cups / 1 litre)
- Parsley , finely chopped (garnish)
- Garlic butter filling: Place ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.
- Shape and chill butter: Scrape butter on to a small sheet of baking / parchment paper and roughly shape into 10 x 6cm / 4 x 2.4" rectangle. Refrigerate until firm, then cut in half lengthwise to form two batons.
- Pound chicken: Place chicken smooth side down between two freezer bags or paper (Note 3). Pound to an even 0.5 cm / 0.2" thickness using a meat mallet (Note 4 for tips!)
- Season: Sprinkle each side of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Stuff and roll up chicken: Place a baton of butter in the middle. Trim edges if needed, then add trimmings into the centre. Fold sides in over the butter, then roll the chicken up starting from the bottom, finishing with the seam side down.
- Wrap and partially freeze: Wrap the chicken log in cling wrap, twisting the ends tightly to create a firm log shape. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes until the surface is fairly firm to touch, but not frozen solid. (Note 5)
- Crumb: Place egg, flour and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Coat chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Coat in egg, drip off excess. Then coat in breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere.
- Partial freeze: Place crumbed chicken in the freezer for 30 minutes until fairly firm to handle (but not frozen solid).
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Place a rack on a tray.
- Fry: Heat oil in a heavy based pot to 190°C / 375°F. Carefully place chicken in the oil and cook, turning once or twice, until golden (2 – 3 minutes). It will still be raw inside.
- Bake: Place chicken on a rack and bake for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 65°C / 150°F. Pierce the top so you don't cause butter leakage!
- Rest for 2 minutes, then serve, sprinkled with a pinch of parsley if desired!
Life of Dozer
On the move…again!!! Getting a little renovations done, and I fully intended to live through it. However, I was strongly advised against it by “everybody” so I’m moving out for the duration of the build.
Dozer started to express concern when he saw his toys being boxed up…….