Last night I made an almost perfect Chicken Kiev. It's not especially difficult to make, but my previous attempt ended in failure, with a burnt outside, and a raw inside. Not good.
Some of you out there think that Chicken Kiev is a classic Ukranian dish- perhaps. More promising is the information provided by Alasdair Scott Sutherland's fascinating book The Spaghetti Tree, Mario and Franco and the Trattoria Revolution, which reckons that the Kiev (albeit without the garlic) was initially brought over by some Polish restauranteurs after The War, and then re-invented and italianised by the trendy La Trattoria Terrazza during the 1960's.
Franco and Mario added grated parmesan and garlic to the dish, and this undoubtably gives it a je ne sais quois. Here's how to make my definitive version:
First make the butter mixture. This is just salted butter mashed up in a bowl with lots of chopped parsley, some lemon juice, a few shakes of Tabasco, some freshly grated parmesan cheese, a decent dollop of crushed garlic, and freshly milled black pepper. Fashion the butter into a quenelle shape with a spoon, and let it stiffen up in the 'fridge.
Next, get hold of a chicken breast, and take a good look at it. There should be an extra bit of meat (almost forming a flap) on the side. Run a sharp knife along the edge and remove this, so that you end you with two pieces of chicken meat.
Beat them flat with a kitchen mallet, and then season them with sea salt and black pepper. Brush with a beaten egg, and lightly dust with seasoned flour. Put the quenelle of garlicky butter onto the larger bit of chicken. Place the smaller piece on top, and try and pinch the two pieces of chicken together, so that the butter is sealed inside. Wrap up the finished effort tightly in some cling film, and shove it into the 'fridge. This should help it stick together. Then you can roll the chicken in the seasoned flour, and then brush it with the beaten egg.
Finally, dip the Kiev into seasoned breadcrumbs, making sure that the chicken is well covered. Deep fry in oil, until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown. Make sure that they don't burn. It should take about five minutes.
I'm not completely sure what shape the Kiev should be. If you follow my method, there's a tendency for the Kiev to end up a turd-like sausage shape. I've got a hunch that it might look better if it's in a round, or at least a kidney or tear-drop shape. I'll leave that one up to you; it's going to taste the same isn't it?