Chicken Kiev sounds like it was invented in Ukraine, but we recently learned that it probably came from Paris. In the middle of the 19th century Russian nobility, captivated by all things French, sent their chefs to learn the secrets of Parisian cuisine. The chefs returned with a veal cutlet recipe, but decided to make it with chicken because the latter was considered more of a delicacy at the time; for years, it was served in posh Russian dining rooms and on state occasions. After World War II New York chefs began serving the dish, which they called Chicken Kiev, to attract the many Russian and Ukrainian immigrants who had settled there. This put Kiev on the international map and visitors to Ukraine love to eat Chicken Kiev there.
Chicken Kiev is often served with potatoes but we would suggest accompanying it with steamed vegetables or a garden salad in a light vinaigrette dressing to balance the dish.
Six five-ounce boneless chicken breast halves
One stick (one-half cup) unsalted butter at room temperature*
*Do not substitute margarine
Three tablespoons chopped curly parsley
Three tablespoons finely chopped dill
Two tablespoons finely chopped chives
One minced garlic clove
Juice of one-half lemon
Salt and pepper
Four whole eggs, beaten
Three-quarters cup all-purpose flour
Two and a half cups breadcrumbs; Japanese/panko are best for crunch
One-half cup vegetable oil
Additional one-quarter stick (one ounce or two tablespoons) butter
In a small bowl, mix the half-cup of butter, parsley, dill, chives, garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Put the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and form into a one-and-a-half-inch thick roll. Wrap and place in the freezer for one hour.
Place one chicken breast into a medium-sized plastic baggie and gently pound until about one-eighth of an inch thick. Remove from bag and lightly season with salt and pepper. Repeat with each chicken breast.
Remove the frozen herb butter roll from the plastic wrap and cut into six equal pieces. Place one on each chicken breast and roll the chicken breast up around it. Secure it with a toothpick.
Prepare three shallow bowls, one with flour, one with the beaten eggs and one with the breadcrumbs. Roll each chicken breast first in the flour, then dip generously into the beaten eggs, and finally roll in the breadcrumbs, applying gentle pressure to ensure good breading coverage.
Over medium heat, pan-fry the chicken in the vegetable oil and additional butter until golden brown. Bake the chicken in the oven at 325°F for about 40 minutes; the temperature inside the chicken should reach 180°F. Remove the toothpicks and serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
Courtesy of Viking River Cruises