Chicken Kiev

I do love veggies, but no one will ever be able to mistake me for a vegetarian. I love meat — all kinds of meat cooked in all kinds of ways.

When boneless chicken breasts are on sale, I will grab a family package, portion them out and freeze some for later. I’ll peel the skin back, season them and cook them in a sauté pan, so when later comes, it is all ready to go.

Or I will make something I haven’t made in a while and that has a lot of flavor. The dish I ended up making with the breasts was Chicken Kiev.

The next time you are looking for a great way to prepare chicken, give this traditional dish a try and enjoy.

Traditional Kiev is made by stuffing the chicken with plain unsalted butter, seasoning it with kosher salt, breading it and frying it. These days it is usually stuffed with garlic herb butter. You could even use an herb butter. Some people like to pound out the chicken before they stuff it. I think chicken is tender enough without pounding and it is much easier to make a pocket without pounding.

Another thing you can add to the herb butter is lemon juice. If you add the juice, be sure the butter is soft enough to work the lemon juice into it. If you are planning on using herb butter you have in the freezer, cut off as much butter as you are going to use and cut it up placing the frozen pieces into the chicken pocket. When using softened butter, put the breaded chicken in the refrigerator before cooking to firm up the butter. This will keep the butter from leaking out so much while cooking.

READ MORE: Try Chef Smitty’s recipes for Herb Butter

The breaded chicken can be baked or fried. What I will normally do is fry it just long enough to sear it and give it a nice golden color. I finish it off by baking it. This searing process also will help lessen the leakage of butter.

Be sure the oil is hot before putting the chicken in. An easy way to check if the oil is hot enough is to dip a small piece of the end of the chicken in and if the oil immediately starts to bubble and crackle, it’s hot enough. If there is nothing happening, then let the oil get hotter and try again.

You don’t have to completely submerge the chicken in the oil but can sear one side and then flip it over if you want. Once seared, put it into a pre-heated 350-degree F oven and it should only take about 20 minutes to finish.

The next time you are looking for a great way to prepare chicken, give this traditional dish a try and enjoy.

Chicken Kiev

4 chicken breasts, without skin
4 T garlic herb butter or lemon butter or any combination of garlic, herbs or lemon depending on your taste
1 C flour
2 eggs, well beaten (beat 1 egg first, then see if you will need the other)
3 C breadcrumbs, start with half and add more as needed
Heavy pan with 1-inch oil

Slice a pocket into the thicker side of the breast on what would be the non-skin side. Place 1 tablespoon of herb butter in each pocket, as deep into the pocket as possible. Close the opening of the pocket as tight as you can by squeezing it shut. If using butter that is cold, cut it into a few pieces and stuff into the pocket.

Season the outside with salt and pepper. Dust the stuffed breasts with flour, knocking off any excess and dip into the beaten egg. Roll breasts in the breadcrumbs to cover the chicken. If you used soft butter, place the chicken in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes to let the butter firm up.

Get the oil hot and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fry the chicken until it is golden brown and place in the oven to finish. Any leftover chicken can be wrapped and frozen to cook at a later time.


Chef Smitty

Smitty is a personal chef specializing in dinner parties, cooking classes and special events. Trained under Master Chef Anton Flory at Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vt., Smitty is known for his creative use of fresh ingredients. Smitty has been teaching skiing at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows for more than 26 years each winter, and spends his summers working for High Sierra Waterski School since 2000. Smitty has been writing his chef column for Tahoe Weekly since 2005.