This delicious, crunchy chicken stuffed with herb butter is a hearty complement to the cold winds of a Ukrainian winter. However, the dish is not Ukrainian at all. Instead, it came from the kitchens of Paris, where 19th-century Russian nobility, enamored of all things Français, sent their chefs to train. The original recipe called for veal, but the Russians substituted chicken, which was considered more of a delicacy at the time, and called it “Mikhailorska cutlet.”
Initially, the dish was confined to the posh dining rooms of the aristocracy and to occasions of state; it wasn’t until after World War II that the creation became popular half a world away. In order to lure Russian and Ukrainian immigrants to their establishments, New York chefs dubbed the dish “Chicken Kiev” and began serving it in their restaurants. It caught on across the world and made Kiev a household name.
Although Chicken Kiev is traditionally served with potatoes, we recommended balancing it with a lighter side dish, perhaps steamed vegetables or a salad with vinaigrette.
- 1 stick (1/2 C) unsalted butter, at room temp* & additional 1/4 stick (1 oz or 2 T) for frying
- 3 T parsley, chopped curly
- 3 T dill, finely chopped
- 2 T chives, finely chopped
- 1 garlic, minced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 6 five-oz boneless chicken breast halves
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 C all-purpose flour
- 4 whole eggs, beaten
- 2 1/2 C bread crumbs (preferably panko)
- 1/2 C vegetable oil
In a small bowl, mix butter, parsley, dill, chives, garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Put mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and form into a 1 1/2-inch thick roll. Wrap and place in freezer for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Place one chicken breast into a medium-sized plastic baggie and gently pound until about 1/8 of an inch thick.
Remove from bag and lightly season with salt and pepper. Repeat with each chicken breast. Remove frozen herb butter roll from the plastic wrap and cut into 6 equal pieces. Place one on each chicken breast and roll chicken breast up around it. Secure it with a toothpick. Prepare 3 shallow bowls, one with flour, one with eggs and one with breadcrumbs. Roll each chicken breast first in flour, then dip generously into beaten eggs and finally roll in breadcrumbs, applying gentle pressure to ensure good coverage. Over medium heat, panfry chicken in vegetable oil and additional butter until golden brown. Bake chicken at 325°F (165°C) for about 40 minutes; temperature inside chicken should reach 180°F (82°C). Remove toothpicks and serve immediately.
*Do not substitute margarine.
- Makes 6 servings.